Building solutions company, Lafarge Africa Plc, has commenced export of cement to Ghana. The move helped in growing its sales in the third quarter and nine-month period ended September 2017 by 39 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.
Stable prices, fuel flexibility and, better logistics and commercial performance increased the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation by four times to N41.7bn with margins stable at 30 per cent.
Commenting on the performance, the Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa, Michel Puchercos, said, “Our company continues to recover since we implemented the turnaround plan in September 2016 and have delivered a good performance even in a challenging market. As of September 2017, the cement demand in Nigeria was significantly lower than prior year.
“Nevertheless, operating EBITDA for our Nigeria operations was up four times at N41.7bn and EBITDA margin stood at 30 per cent, thanks to stable pricing environment, steady industrial operations, fuel flexibility, execution of our commercial and logistics performance improvement plan. We shipped the first batch of cement to the Ghana market, which was well accepted.
“The South African economy exited a recession Q2 2017, supported by secondary and tertiary sectors. Cement revenue was up 30 per cent; supported by stable pricing and the strengthening of the rand against the naira. However, operations were impacted in the quarter by industrial challenges at the Lichtenburg plant.”
Overall, the company said cement demand in Nigeria was expected to close the year lower than the prior year, on account of the economic slowdown in the first half 2017