PPC cement sales up 42% on plant recovery and strong construction demand

Construction of new Afreximbank regional HQ in Harare: PPC among the suppliers

PPC’s cement sales grew by 42% in the first five months of this year, as the company recovered from a plant maintenance shutdown last year and benefitted from home construction and infrastructure projects.

The company received a dividend of US$3.5 million from its operations in Zimbabwe in July.

“The cement market in Zimbabwe continued to show growth as a result of both residential construction and government-funded infrastructure projects. PPC Zimbabwe continued to win back market share during the period following the planned maintenance shutdown in the prior year. Cement sales volumes increased 42% period on period,” PPC reports.

PPC says cement sales volumes across the group for the five months to August 2023 were 3% higher than the comparable period due to “exceptionally strong growth in Zimbabwe and, to a lesser extent, Rwanda, while cement volumes continued to decline in South Africa”. 

The increased sales in Zimbabwe came despite PPC increasing its prices by 12%. The higher prices and volumes allowed PPC to almost double its profit margins to 27% from 14% over the same time last year.

PPC Africa holds 90% of the Zimbabwe operation after it recently repurchased some shares that had been handed to locals in 2012 under the indigenisation law. The company paid R42 million to unwind the transaction.  

On sustainability, company executives told an investor conference in Cape Town on Wednesday that they plan to make use of the fly ash being generated at the new Hwange power plant to make cement. The fly ash would normally be stored as waste, but PPC has agreed with Hwange to use it instead in its cement-making process. This, PPC says, will cut carbon dioxide intensity from 720kg of carbon dioxide per tonne of cement to 600 kg per tonne. PPC is also installing solar plants to power its Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn plants.