Circle Cement in dramatic turnaround

Circle Cement, probably the country's second largest cement producer, had a dramatic turnaround from a loss of $862.3 million in 2002 to a profit of $9.8 billion, largely because of the lifting of price controls on cement.

In its report for the year ended December, the company says cement sales shot up from nearly $3 billion to $38.4 billion. It does not disclose the cement sales volumes.

Other divisions contributed $4.5 billion, up from $762.4 million.

The cement division, which had an operating loss of $1.2 billion in 2002, had an operating profit of $10.9 billion, while other divisions had an operating profit of $1.8 billion, up from $352.5 million.

The company says it operated at a loss for the first four months of the year when the price of cement was still controlled.

It says the introduction of the new monetary policy has brought new optimism in the economy, but the construction industry remains subdued.

"We are encouraged by talks of an infrastructure bank and the government housing development plans as these are likely to result in increased activities for the company, and indeed the entire construction industry," it says.

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