Lafarge forecasts demand growth

Business 0 14
Lafarge

Lafarge

LAFARGE Cement Plc has forecast market growth for cement this year after posting an increase in 2012 profits.

And Standard Chartered bank managed to increase its profits for a 10th consecutive time last year despite being hit by a huge fine for breaking sanctions on Iran.

The country’s largest cement manufacturer confirmed that its profits after tax increased to K296 billion in 2012 from K226 billion the previous year. Company secretary Harriet Kapekele explained that domestic demand – which pushed profits up – was strong especially in second half of the year. “Export markets remained robust with good sales volumes into the DRC and Burundi as well,” she added.

The cement maker, which adjusted cement prices in line with input costs during the first half of the year, however said the fluctuation in the kwacha against other major convertibles impacted it negatively as foreign exchange losses were recorded.

In its outlook for 2013, Lafarge said it expected cement demand to remain fairly steady, driven by the booming construction industry. “Innovative products and services will therefore be introduced as required during the year to satisfy the growing demand in the construction sector,” stated Kapekele.

The company said it would pay a dividend of K760 (KR0.76) a share for 2012. Lafarge Cement Zambia PLC manufactures cement clinker and cement in Zambia. The company’s largest customer is Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings, which purchases about 10 per cent of the company’s products. Lafarge’s remaining products are sold through its wholesale and retail outlets in Zambia.

And London-listed Standard Chartered, which locally trades as Standard Chartered Bank Zambia, announced yesterday a pretax profit of US $6.9 billion for 2012, up from US $6.8 billion in 2011. This was, however, short of the average analyst forecast of US $7 billion. Commenting on the results, Standard Chartered chairman Sir John Peace said the bank remains a growth story.

“We are sticking to our strategy, focusing on the basics of good banking, in markets we know well, with clients and customers with whom we have deep relationships,” Sir Peace stated in an emailed statement. The group said its operations in China and wholesale banking business in Africa achieved US $1 billion of income for the first time, it said. Africa’s income grew by 15 per cent to US$1.59 billion.

Ten markets delivered double-digit income growth, including Kenya which went up 34 per cent, South Africa 28 per cent, Ghana 20 per cent, Zambia 19 per cent and Nigeria 13 per cent. POSTZAMBIA

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