Cement demand in Sri Lanka up with household sector: manufacturer

ECONOMYNEXT – Cement sales went up in 2015 with strong demand from Sri Lanka’s private and household sector with state projects slackening, Tokyo Cement group, which operates grinding plants in the country said.

The construction sector had been hit by policy uncertainty over state projects and bad weather had also disrupted activity S R Gnanam, Managing Director of Tokyo Cement Plc group told shareholders in the annual report.

The group has grinding capacity of 1.8 million tonnes which will be boosted to 2.8 million in late 2016 with a hi-tech plant coming into operation in Trincomalee.

It also sells imported cement from Pakistan and Vietnam.

Gnaman said private sector demand in the Western Province and household demand from the regions helped boost the topline.

"Overall there was a 7 – 10 percent demand growth in the household sector during the year, from across the country including the North and the East," he said.

Total demand reached 6.0 million metric tonnes in the year to March from 5.4 million a year earlier, he said.

He said government price controls were hurting the company.

Sri Lanka now has free trade in cement, helping improve living standard and keeping house building costs along international lines for the homeless, unlike in sectors like steel, where lobbying has pushed up protectionism and costs.

There are fears however that politicians will be influenced to raise taxes if Holcim Lanka, owned by a Swiss-French group, which is exiting the country, is bought by a local company.





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