Higher Cement Prices Help Build Up Lafarge Earnings


19 February 2009


LAFARGE Malayan Cement Bhd (3794) said higher cement prices has helped to increase the firm's net profit in the fourth quarter ended December 31 2008.


Its net profit for the three month period rose 33.7 per cent to RM119.1 million from RM89 million before.


The company in its filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday said selling prices were revised to compensate significant increases in production costs brought about by higher prices of coal, diesel and electricity.


"The better performance is mainly attributable to higher revenue, lower maintenance costs due to timing of scheduled plant shutdown and the non-recurring gain on the sale of CERs (Certified Emission Reductions) of RM29.6 million," it said.


Lafarge's revenue for the period stood 18.2 per cent higher at RM641.3 million.

It said the coming year will be challenging as the global financial crisis and economic slowdown is likely to affect economic growth in Malaysia.


"With the expectation of lower construction activities, cement demand growth in the country is likely to be negative and the extent of contraction or recovery will depend on the impact of the government's economic stimulus package," it said.


The company said Singapore is already in recession but the construction industry there is likely to remain active, underpinned by ongoing projects.


The group will, however, continue to focus its efforts to improve plant performance, cost control and management of working capital to mitigate the negative impacts of the economic downturn.