Holcim's 9-mo profits rise amid gov't, private projects

Posted at 10/30/12 1:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Profits of listed cement maker Holcim Philippines Inc. grew in the nine months to September buoyed by demand from sustained public and private construction activities.

Net income of the firm climbed by 23% to P2.533 billion in the first three quarters from P2.067 billion in the same period last year, Holcim told the stock exchange on Tuesday.

Gross profit reached P5.082 billion in the nine months to September while operating expenses amounted to P1.290 billion. In the same period last year, gross profit only summed up to P4.317 billion, while operating expenses reached P1.146 billion.

"The cement industry demand grew by 20% for the period January to September 2012 compared with the same period last year," Holcim said.

"The increase was brought about mainly by the sustained government infrastructure spending and healthy construction activities nationwide from the private sector," the firm added.

For the third quarter alone, net income slid by 17% to P516.561 million from P625.910 million last year.

Gross profit declined by 5% to P1.211 billion in July to September from P1.273 billion last year, while operating expenses rose by 1% to P430.400 million from P424.588 million.

Demand for cement is expected to continue throughout the year, as sales of cement is expected to increase by 14% from year-ago levels, Holcim said.

Moreover, growth is expected to be sustained next year due to "good business and political climate, ... the implementation of the private-public partnership projects, and the successful conduct of the 2013 local election."

In order to meet the foreseen rise in demand, Holcim said it is currently rehabilitating its plant in Mabini, Batangas and expects such to be operational by the third quarter of next year.

Holcim is also planning to establish a new integrated cement plan, a proposal for which will be presented to the company's board of directors in the first half of 2013.