East African Portland Cement swings into half-year loss

NAIROBI (Reuters) – East African Portland Cement swung to a first-half loss after a maintenance shutdown of its packing and clinker units but the Kenyan firm said it hoped to recover its market share after the repairs.

The company reported a pretax loss of 124 million shillings ($1.36 million) for the six months to end of December, against a profit of 171 million shillings in the same period in 2013.The firm, which also operates in Uganda, said it hopes to regain its market share in the industry after completing a plant refurbishment in the second quarter of this financial year.

“Despite the growing competitive environment, there are opportunities for growth to meet the increasing local and regional demand for cement,” the company said in a statement.

East African cement makers hope to benefit from major infrastructure projects in fast-growing regional economies, as well as improving business conditions.

The cement maker said its total revenues fell 9.6 percent to 4.1 billion shillings, while the cost of sales increased 8 percent to 3.5 billion shilling.Its earnings per share fell to -0.75 shillings from 2.03 shillings in first half 2013.It did not recommend payment of a dividend, having paid no dividend in the comparable period a year earlier.
($1 = 91.3500 Kenyan shillings).

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