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PPC sees sales increase in southern Africa

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World Cement,

PPC’s business units in Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Botswana recorded an increase in cement sales of 9% for the nine-month period to December 2016, the company said in a trading update, after the commissioning of a new mill in Harare.

The new was completed on time and US$3 million below budget, the company said. Despite the successful commissioning of the mill, the company is facing problems securing key raw material imports because of “liquidity challenges” in Zimbabwe.

“Management is exploring various solutions to overcome these challenges,” PPC said.

In addition to completing the new mill under budget, the company also reduced its reliance on debt-funding for the project by US$20 million by using cash reserves. Original project debt was expected to be US$75 million.

In Rwanda, the company continued its steady ramp-up of cement sales, hitting 81 000 t in 4Q16 and 0.23 million t for the nine-month period to December. Cement sales in Botswana also rose by 12% in the quarter.

Despite higher sales volumes, the company reported prices “under some pressure” in all three countries, as well as its home market of South Africa, where the average selling price fell 4% in the nine-month period to December.

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