Portland Holdings, the Zimbabwean subsidiary of Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) had an operating loss of R9.6 million ( about $1 billion at the official exchange rate) during the six moths to March, down from an operating profit of R1.5 million during the same period last year.
Though this was largely due to the price control of cement which was set in April 2002 and the closure of the plant at Colleen Bawn for nearly two months from February, it says the lifting of the price control in May is not likely to turn the subsidiary around if the present socio-economic crisis in the country continues.
The parent company, however, says Porthold is well positioned to benefit from any improvement in Zimbabwe and from exports. PPC’s total sales increased by 19 percent from R1.2 billion to R1.4 billion.
Operating profit was up 52 percent from R247.8 million to R376.8 million. Net profit increased by 84 percent from R131.5 million to R242.1 million. The company says domestic cement sales increased by 8 percent while exports soared 53 percent. The strengthening rand was, however, likely to impact adversely on exports.