CEMENT maker Holcim Philippines Inc. on Thursday vowed to keep cement supply steady in support of the new administration’s plan to ramp up infrastructure spending as it reported a 21 percent growth in first half earnings.
The cement maker reported net income of P3.66 billion for the first six months, up from P3.02 billion in the same period last year.
Revenue grew 15.7 percent to P20.8 billion from P17.9 billion previously, while operating Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) increased 19.6 percent to P5.7 billion.
In a press briefing, Eduardo Sahagun, Holcim Philippines country president and chief executive officer, attributed the positive results to strong demand for cement in the second quarter, boosted by sustained public and private building activities.
He said the company is now enjoying the positive result of various operating efficiency programs, which began in the first quarter of the year.
Sahagun said the scheduled maintenance of its Davao City and Misamis Oriental facilities, which required shutting down the plants, were completed during the second quarter.
Holcim Philippines had reported flat net income of P1.5 billion in the first quarter after shutting down its Bulacan and La Union plants for scheduled maintenance.
But Sahagun said the third quarter could be challenging because of the effects of seasonality on demand and logistics operations and power supply concerns in Mindanao.
“I hope La Nina is not as bad,” he said.
Overall, Sahagun is optimistic about the company’s prospects going forward.
“The new administration’s vow to further increase infrastructure investments to 7 percent of GDP [gross domestic product]bodes well for the entire country,” he said.
“Holcim Philippines stands ready to support the country’s sustained development by working to keep the market supplied through the timely completion of our project increasing cement capacity to 10 million tons, and through the introduction of more innovative construction solutions to help the sector build faster and better,” he added.
By the end of the year, Holcim Philippines expects to augment its cement capacity to 10 million metric tons, from the current 7.2 million MT, while its clinker’s capacity is expected to grow to 5.8 million MT from the present 4.8 million MT.
“We believe we are growing for the rest of the year. We are always three to four years ahead of the market. We have the view of the entire region as against our competitors because we have the facilities in almost all the countries in the region, while our competitors have limited access in the region,” Sahagun said.
He admitted that Holcim Philippines would still import products to support its supply requirement in the Philippines but it would import from Holcim brands in the region.
“Since we import from ourselves, being a multinational company, they know our requirement and we know what kind of cement we are getting,” Sahagun explained.