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PPC to increase production by 30% at its Pretoria plant

World Cement,

According to a recent statement, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) is set to increase its cement production capacity by 30% at its largest manufacturing facility in Pretoria to meet a growing regional demand.

The company has stated that, through its newly upgraded technology, it would produce more than 1 million tpa of cement. “This new technology will enable us to produce more and sell premium products and become more competitive,” said Kevin Odendaal, the company’s investor relations and strategy manager. “It [the new technology] is extremely efficient on electricity, up to 30% more efficient,” he added, noting its relevance “considering that the plant will run at high volumes”.

Last year investments totally R700 million took place at the Hercules plant, incorporating some of the most modern technology on one of the oldest PPC factory sites in Pretoria.

PPC, which has been under pressure in its home market, where the construction industry is struggling to bounce back after the 2008–09 recession, used to produce ~700 000 tpa of cement. The company is reportedly planning to upgrade its other four plants within the next few years.

Odendaal also commented on the company’s market ambitions in other countries, nothing that “Zimbabwe is growing in terms of its economy and we are seeing opportunities there. We are also exporting our products to other regional countries such as Mozambique, Angola and Zambia.”

Alongside the introduction of new technologies, PPC launched its new cement product that will allow builders and contractors to produce 15% more concrete of equal or higher quality than what they have been used to in the past – a popular cost reducing measure.

Two months ago, when the company’s interim results were released, the group revenue declined 5% to R3.2 billion compared with R3.4 billion last year. This decline was attributed to lower sales volumes across all divisions and selling price increases. PPC’s total cement volumes declined 7% for the half year ended in March.

Paul Stuiver, the company’s CEO, said then that those results were a reflection of the difficult business environment in the local building and construction industry. Lower cement demand, pressure on selling prices and considerable input cost inflation had a negative affect on the company in the first half of the financial year.

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