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Argos reports lower cement volumes

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World Cement,

Colombia-based cement producer has reported a fall in cement sales of 5.5% in 4Q16 and 2.4% for 2016, despite strong volumes from the company’s US operations. Earnings were more positive, however, up 8.7% for the year.

According to its consolidated results, the company’s cement volumes for quarter were down to 3.44 million t, compared to 3.64 million t the year before. For the full year, cement volumes slid to 13.98 million t from 14.33 million in 2015.

Volumes were strong in the US, however, where the company recorded a 13.6% increase in 4Q16 and 18.5% for the full year – boosted by strong demand from the housing sector and the consolidation of the 2.2 million tpy Martinsburg cement plant in December lat year.

The US also contributed 50% of the company’s 2016 revenues.

Argos also reported positive results from its Caribbean and Central American (CCA) business, where volumes were up 4.1% in the quarter to 1.19 million t, and 4.7% over the year to 4.95 million t.

Growth was driven by a “13.6% increase in Honduras, and positive dynamics in trading (11.8%) and exports (9.7%(, which offset the performance of the rest of the region,” the company said.

Challenging market conditions in the Colombian cement sector offset the positive results from the US and CCA businesses, however, as Argos reported a 22.2% fall in volumes in 4Q16 and 10% fall over the year.

These falls exceeded the average fall in cement dispatches of 9.5%, as reported by the National Administrative Department of Statistics, which the company blamed on its “higher exposure to the infrastructure and industrial segments and increasing volumes of imports.”

Despite the fall in volumes, the company recorded an 8.7% increase in earnings to COP1.65 trillion as earnings from the US and CCA jumped by 82.1% and 37.8%, respectively.

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US cement news