NEWLY listed Eagle Cement Corp. is ramping up the development of its factory in Cebu plant to start manufacturing by 2019, a company official said over the weekend.
“We said that first quarter 2020, we would commission the Cebu [plant], but really our target is to start selling from Cebu 2019 but not as a complete line. We’ll start with cement grinding first in our terminals,” Eagle Cement Chief Executive Officer John Paul Ang told reporters in a briefing on the sidelines of the company’s stockholders’ meeting.
The Cebu plant is the company’s fourth production line and its construction was expected to finish in the next three years.
“So, we will be manufacturing cement from Cebu 2019 and start selling it in those areas. So we have to ramp it up,” Ang said.
The company targets to double output capacity to 9.1 million tons as new factories come on stream. Its third production line in Bulacan will be fully operational next year and is expected to add 2 million metric tons (MT) to the existing yearly capacity of 5.1 million MT.
With an output capacity of 7 million MT, Eagle will be the biggest cement maker in the country, where it now accounts for 14 percent of the market and trails market leader Holcim.
In the same briefing, Chief Financial Officer Monica Ang said the company is in talks regarding compliance with the recent implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to double the public float of listed companies.
“We are expecting that with the new IRR, we will be required to increase our public float to 15 percent as a first step and then up to 20 percent by in two years’ time,” she said.
“With regards to the schedule of whether or not we will do the 20 percent right away, or do it step-by-step, or 15 to 20, it is still up for discussion. Depends on market conditions but we will comply,” she added.
Last month, the SEC said all listed companies will be required to increase the minimum public ownership to 20 percent, two-times of what is now mandated.
Significant shareholdings of 10 percent or more of the total issued and outstanding shares “are considered strategic, and, thus, excluded in the public float of the company.
The current minimum public ownership of listed companies is 10 percent, while the current average free float requirement in the region is 25 percent.