Peru's largest cement producer, Unacem, more than doubled its net income in the first half despite a decline in output.

Unacem posted a 358mn-sol (US$108mn) profit in the first six months compared with 152mn soles a year earlier, while sales slid 2.4% to 874mn soles, the Lima-based company said in a corporate filing with securities regulator SMV.

The company, which said it received a 212mn-sol sol dividend from its Ecuadoran unit compared to 127mn a year ago, also posted a 43mn-sol FX gain compared with a 180mn-sol FX loss a year earlier. Unacem trimmed its financial debt by 3.8% to 3.96bn soles from end-2015 partly due to currency fluctuations.

The company's cement production fell 6.5% to 2.536Mt in the first half, while clinker output dropped 14% to 2.217Mt largely due to blast furnace maintenance at its Atocongo and Condorcocha plants in the second quarter, Unacem said.

Unacem, which competes in Peru with the likes of Cementos Pacasmayo and Cementos Yura, said its domestic market share slipped to 46.9% through mid-2016 from 51.1% a year before. Capex totaled 79mn soles including investments at its Condorcocha and Atocongo plants and the Carpapata 3 hydroelectric project, it said.

The company, which sold US$625mn in 2021 bonds in 2014 to finance its expansion projects including its US$553mn acquisition in 2014 of Lafarge Ecuador, has installed capacity of 7.6Mt/y of cement.

Construction and cement companies are betting that government plans to award public-private partnership concessions for more than US$20bn in Peru since 2011 will drive industry growth. Ecuador, meanwhile, aims to spend billions on a reconstruction effort following an earthquake in April.

Peru's president-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who is to take office July 28 after winning last month's run-off election, seeks to fast track US$25bn in delayed infrastructure projects.


Source: BNamericas