PPC: increased cement sales, higher prices and stringent cost control

Cement sales volumes in the South Africa and Botswana region increased by 12% – 15% period-on-period for the six months ended 30 September 2021 benefiting from strong retail demand. Relative to the comparable period in 2019, cement sales in the region increased by 3% – 6%. Sales to the retail and rural markets continue to outpace other segments of the market.

PPC implemented price increases that partially offset the input cost inflation of 9,2% with realised selling prices increasing by 4% – 8% year-on-year for the six months ended 30 September 2021. The effect of cost control and the increased volumes enabled an increase in EBITDA margin.

PPC welcomes the recent classification of locally produced cement as a designated product by the South African Government. Designation implies that it is no longer permissible to use imported cement on all government-funded projects.

Furthermore, designation is likely to positively impact the local cement industry once the government’s infrastructure roll out programme gathers momentum. PPC views this development as an essential first step in ensuring the economic sustainability of the South African cement industry, thereby protecting jobs and ensuring that the sector can play a meaningful role in helping to rebuild the South African economy.

PPC estimates that cement and clinker imports increased by 30% year-on-year for the nine months ended September 2021.  As a result, PPC forecasts that imports will account for approximately 10% of total industry volumes by the end of 2021.

In conjunction with Cement & Concrete SA (CCSA) and other industry players, PPC is awaiting a decision from the relevant authorities on an application that seeks relief against unfair competition. The application has been updated to include both clinker and cement.

For the six months ended September 2021, PPC South Africa and Botswana cement revenue increased by 17% to R2 753 million (September 2020: R2 355 million). Relative to the comparable period in 2019, revenue increased by 8%. EBITDA improved by 53% to R515 million (September 2020: R337 million) with a margin of 18,7% (September 2020: 14,3%). Both EBITDA and EBITDA margin benefited from increased cement sales, higher realised prices and stringent cost control.

Relative to the comparable period in 2019, EBITDA increased by 40% and EBITDA margins increased by 4.4%.

GROUP RESTRUCTURING AND REFINANCING PROJECT AND POST REPORTING PERIOD EVENTS

On 29 October 2021, an addendum to the sale and purchase agreement for the sale of PPC Lime was signed in terms of which R25,1 million of the purchase price was deferred to 31 March 2022 to allow for the conclusion of the rehabilitation financial provisioning matters.

The transaction closed on 29 October 2021 and the purchase price (excluding the R25,1 million) was received. In total, PPC has received R504 million from the sale of PPC Lime, and the Botswana aggregates business, which has been used to repay existing debt.

The successful completion of the sale of PPC Lime has eliminated the requirement by the SA lenders for an equity raise. Pursuant to the term sheets signed with the SA lenders, long-form agreements are progressing well and are expected to be concluded shortly.

OUTLOOK

Despite the uncertain trading environment and macro-economic backdrop, the group is well-positioned to benefit from growing cement demand in its markets. PPC will continue to take the necessary measures to mitigate the impact of input cost inflation, reduce carbon intensity, and enhance its financial resilience.

GROUP RESULTS FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED SEPTEMBER 2021

  • R5 131 million Group revenue (September 2020: R4 272 million)
  • R945 million Group EBITDA (September 2020: R839 million)

South Africa and Botswana cement

  • R2 753 million Revenue (September 2020: R2 355 million)
  • R515 million EBITDA (September 2020: R337 million)
  • 18,7% EBITDA margin (September 2020: 14,3%; September 2019: 14,4%)
  • 66 cents Group basic earnings per share (September 2020: 30 cents)
  • 55 cents Group basic headline earnings per share (September 2020: 30 cents)
  • Further de-gearing of the group balance sheet by R309 million since 31 March 2021
  • The group did not declare a dividend for the current or previous period
  • Group restructuring and refinancing project nears completion without the need for a capital raise

Roland van Wijnen, CEO, said: “Team PPC delivered a solid performance, showing results from our efforts to  reposition the business and ensure financial sustainability. My gratitude goes to all my colleagues who have worked diligently under stringent health and safety protocols to serve our customers and sustain our purpose of empowering  people to experience a better quality of life. Despite some challenging conditions across our markets, we made significant progress on our strategic objectives which underpin this achievement. We are also nearing the completion  of our capital restructure without the need for an equity capital raise. Optimising our operational efficiencies to mitigate increasing input cost pressures and reduce our environmental footprint remains a key focus together with further enhancing our financial position. PPC will continue to play a meaningful role in helping build the countries we operate in by reliably and responsibly providing high-quality building materials and services.”

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