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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cement industry likely to grow at 12% plus in Feb

The domestic cement industry is all set to strike once again a growth of over 12 per cent in February, making it a third consecutive month to see double-digit growth curve.

The robust demand for the building material along with incremental capacities getting commissioned on a regular basis are pushing the actual monthly despatches towards 20 million tonnes. In January, industry's despatch growth rate had hit close to 13 per cent.

It is despite the fact that the cement prices are on the boil since mid-November and with the recent excise duties rollback from 8 per cent to 10 per cent, another hike of Rs 8-10 is on the card. Already, prices have risen by Rs 20 per 50 kg bag of cement taking the national average rate to Rs 240 per bag.

Jaiprakash Associates, which is benefitting from its newer units commissioned in the current financial year, scored a 61 per cent rise in its despatches in February at 1.16 million tonne. Similarly, another north major J K Lakshmi sold 21 per cent more cement. Despatches by Dalmia Cement too went up by 28 per cent.

Birla firms - UltraTech and Grasim industries, sold 3.2 million tonnes, a rise of 9.4 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

Shree Cement could manage a rise of only 5.54 per cent in its despatches mainly due to high base effect. Hari Mohan Bangur, chairman & managing director of the company, said, "Demand is robust and industry will see the same growth as it was in January. Moreover, March will have the continuation of high growth as we find no dampening factors currently for demand.

" However, amid cement makers making the most of the robust demand scenario, country's giants - ACC and Ambuja Cements continued to lose out the opportunity on the back of their capacity constraints. Though, Ambuja still managed to remain in the positive territory by selling marginally more cement, its sister concern ACC slipped into the negative territory with its despatches going down by 2.3 per cent.

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