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Trade Secretary welcomes report into import protection

Philippines: Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has welcomed a Tariff Commission (TC) report that has increased the safeguard duty on imported cement, but noted that his department was still reviewing the evaluations made.

Speaking on 14 August 2019, Lopez said, “We just got the full report on cement from the TC and will study the evaluations made. We welcome the finding that there was injury to the industry and that the safeguard duty should be US$5.65/t or US$0.23/bag (40kg).” The TC report said the US$0.23/bag safeguard duty was the difference between the weighted average landed cost of imported cement and the average domestic ex-plant selling price of the local cement industry for 2018.

Lopez earlier claimed that imports of cement increased from only 3558t in 2013 to more than 3Mt in 2017. The share of imports increased from only 0.02% to 15% during the same period.

News

PCA makes appointments in Government Affairs, Communications and Finance

US: The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has made appointments to its executive teams in Government Affairs, Communications and Finance.

Sean O’Neill has been appointed as the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. He joins the PCA from the Associated General Conwtractors of America as Vice President of Congressional Relations/Infrastructure Advancement. Previously he served as Director of Government Affairs at the International Association of Fire Fighters, Special Assistant to Secretary Elaine Chao and Chief of Staff for Congressman John Sweeney.

Nick Ferrari has been appointed Senior Vice President of Communications and Media Relations. He was previously Director of Publishing and Content Development at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was also the chief executive officer (CEO) of Erdos and Morgan, a marketing and media research company and Executive Vice President at American Business Media. He has also held senior positions at Crain Communications.

Debra Adlis has been appointed as the chief financial officer (CFO). She will serve as treasurer and CFO for PCA, while also serving as Executive Vice President of Finance for the National Ready Mix Concrete Association. Adlis has led non-profit finance teams at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the Immune Deficiency Foundation and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Previous to those roles Adlis worked with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.

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Pakistan cement exports fall in second quarter of 2019

Pakistan: Data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shows that cement exports fell by 2.5% year-on-year to 1.16Mt in the second quarter of 2019 from 1.22Mt in the same period in 2018. After a strong first quarter exports remained high in April 2019 before starting to decline in May and June. Overall, exports rose by 22.8% year-on-year to 2.7Mt in the first half of 2019.

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Vicat fights poor markets in Turkey, Switzerland, Indian and West Africa in first half of 2019

France: Vicat’s sales rose by 4.6% year-on-year to Euro1.34bn in the first half of 2019 from Euro1.28bn in the same period in 2018. This was mainly due to its acquisition of Brazil’s Ciplan in late 2018. At constant scope and exchange rates its sales fell by 0.6% due to poor markets in Turkey, Switzerland, Indian and West Africa. Its earnings before interest and tax fell by 9.4% to Euro97m from Euro107m. Cement sales volumes dropped by 4.9% to 10.8Mt from 11.4Mt and concrete volumes decreased by 6.7% to 4.3Mm3 from 4.57Mm3.

“In the first half of 2019, solid performances in France, Asia and the US drove an increase in our sales and earnings before interest, taxation, deprecation and amortisation (EBITDA). These results reflect a marked improvement in the operational profitability given the on-going increase in consumed energy costs, the deteriorating macroeconomic situation in Turkey and the exceptional rainfalls in California that we experienced in the first half,” said Guy Sidos, the group’s chief executive officer (CEO).

By region, the group’s sales and earnings rose in France but fell in the rest of Europe. Sales grew in the Americas region, even without the Ciplan acquisition, but earnings fell due to a Euro10.6mn settlement payment booked in the US in the first half of 2018. The group’s sales fell in India but earnings rose due to price increases. Poor markets in Turkey and Egypt hit sales and caused a loss.

News

Panama improves cement quality requirements and standards

Panama: Ramón Martínez, the Minister of Trade and Industry, has signed two resolutions intended to improve the requirements and standards of cement quality both domestically and for imports. DGNTI-COPANIT 5-2019 sets out the chemical, physical and performance requirements of general and specialised cements, as well as the packaging, transportation, storage and use requirements, according to La Estrella newspaper. DGNTI-COPANIT-90-2019 specifies the procedure for verifying and monitoring the quality of hydraulic cements produced, imported and marketed in the country.

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Saudi Arabia exports 25Mt of cement since mid-2017

Saudi Arabia: Total exports of cement have reached 25Mt since the export rules were relaxed in mid-2017. Abdul Rahman Hussein, from the Ministry of Trade and Investment, said that the government is now planning to charge fees on exporters after a two-year tax holiday, according to the Aliqtisadia newspaper. He noted that the ministry has approved 53 cement export licences. 22 of these have been issued during the current year.

News

Sri Lankan Navy rescues sailors from clinker barge

Sri Lanka: The Sri Lankan Navy has rescued nine sailors from the ‘Sri Lanka Glory,’ a barge that transports clinker to the Rugunu cement grinding plant in Galle. The barge was forced off course by gale-force winds off the coast of Rumassala, according to the Daily Mirror newspaper. A previous attempt to retrieve the seamen from the damaged vessel by tug had failed.

News

ACC counteracts modest cement sales with earnings boost in first half of 2019

ACC’s net sales grew by 8% year-on-year to US$1.15bn in the first half of 2019 from US$1.06bn in the same period in 2018. Its operating earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 18% to US$191m from US$162m. Its cement sales volumes rose by 2% to 14.7Mt from 14.4Mt and its ready-mixed concrete (RMX) sales volumes jumped by 15% to 1.79Mm3 from 1.56Mm3.

“I am pleased that EBITDA improved significantly on account of better realisations, operational efficiencies and supply chain efficiency improvement. Despite subdued cement demand, our strong customer relationships, loyal channel network and range of innovative products have helped us deliver a robust quarter,” said Neeraj Akhoury, the managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of ACC. He added that the company’s concrete business grew ‘strongly’ due to eight new RMX plants it added in the second quarter. Altogether the company operates 82 operational.

News

Belarus introduces licences for cement imports outside of Eurasian Economic Union

Belarus: The Council of Ministers has required companies to obtain a special license for importing Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) from outside the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The requirement will take effect later this month and will be in effect for six months, according to the Belapan news agency. The new regulations have been introduced to support the local sector.

In January to April 2019, Belarus imported 0.13Mt of cement including 65,000t from other EEU countries, according to the National Statistical Committee. In the same period, Belarus’ companies made 1.25Mt of cement, an increase of nearly 12% year-on-year, and exported 0.44Mt.