By Favour Nnabugwu & Ruth Odina
With an estimated market potential of cement consumption of running over 50 million metric tons per annum, the structure behind the growth in the sector could be traced to the cement market where Nigeria’s cement producers and investors alike are spearheading expansion and growth of the country cement sector.
Managing Director of Lafarge Cement Wapco, Mr. Joe Hudson, who disclosed this in Abuja, stated that its financial accounts for three months ended 31 March 2013 show as follows : Profit After Tax (PAT) grew 49 per cent year on year ,y/y to N6.1 billion with modest sales of N23.3 billion; Its profit before tax (PBT) grew 21 per cent y/y due to a number of factors such as a gross margin expansion of 181bps to 42.8 per cent, flattish opex and a 35 per cent decline in net interest income.
A lower tax rate of 15.7 per cent compared with 31.8 per cent in first quarter 2012 resulted in profit after tax growing faster than profit before tax, the sales grew 29 per cent quarter on quarter q/q, while profit before tax and profit after tax advanced by 46 per cent and 56 per cent q/q respectively.
Looking at the outlook for the year 2013, Hudson, said “Outlook for the rest of the year remains positive as we continue to leverage on improvements and cost efficiency initiatives deployed during the year”. According to
him, ‘‘We are leading the required differentiation in the Nigerian cement market and will continue to deliver value to our customers and stakeholders through our innovative products and services”.
Continuing, he said, “Our ReadyMix business has become a preferred solution in the concrete sector in Nigeria. We are expanding with 3 new plants across the nation. Lafarge Powermax has also been launched; an innovative 42.5AL high quality performance cement that is used for large construction projects like bridges, high rise structures, slabs and beams, spun pipes, garden paths and driveways etc.
“Lafarge is a multinational company headquartered in Paris. Lafarge is the world leader in cement and building materials. What differentiates us in the market is that we believe strongly in economic and social progress, and we are already present in sixty-four countries around the world.
“From Lafarge, we realize that this country needs cement and building materials to grow, and although we are not the biggest in the market in terms of size, we are demonstrating leadership through the values that we bring to the market and our stakeholders.