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Porthold in R8.7m operating loss

Domestic cement sales for Porthold increased by 10 percent during the year ending September but the company had an operating loss of R8.7 million because of hyperinflationary cost pressures of about 143 percent and controlled prices on cement.

According to the latest results of Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), the holding company of Porthold, Porthold had maintained market leadership despite the entry of a new slag-blending competitor in Zimbabwe. It sold 929 000 tonnes of cement.

PPC says Porthold is unlikely to make any meaningful contribution to its earnings this year because of hyperinflation, price controls and the shortage of foreign currency.

But it says the business remains well positioned to benefit from any economic improvement in Zimbabwe and from exports.

PPC itself saw its turnover increase by 24 percent from R2.1 billion to R2.6 billion.

The main growth areas were Botswana, Namibia, North West, Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces.

Operating profit increased by 35 percent to R612.2 million while net profit went up by 45 percent from R413.2 million to R600.3 million.

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