News From Listed South African Companies
Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC)
Cement and lime producer Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) announced its planned expansion into Africa with specific emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa and said this had begun to gain traction with the announcement of plans to acquire cement producers in the region. Last month PPC bought three aggregate quarries from Quarries of Botswana for 50 million Pula, making PPC`s aggregates division the largest aggregate producer in Botswana. The company during the release of its financial results drew attention to difficult trading conditions, poor rail logistics and rising input costs that have risen by 11% depressing earnings.
Last week listed construction and infrastructure development company Raubex releasing its financial results, expressed its frustration about the cutback by suppliers of bitumen and impact the shortage had on its operations. Financial and Commercial Director of Raubex, Francois Diedrecshen, said "from the costs point of view this has not been sustainable". He said Raubex was awaiting a shipment of bitumen from Singapore as a temporary measure to ease the shortage. These imports were uncompetitive as it attracted import duty.
Raubex also expressed concern about the raging debate on toll roads possibly leading to further shedding of jobs in the construction sector. Despite increasing revenue in the six months ended August, the profits at Raubex declined by 31.4% to R282-million. Diedrechsen said that Raubex`s future is in Africa and the company already has operations in Zambia, Malawi and Namibia and is now looking at Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Murray & Roberts Secures Contracts Worth R2-Billion
October 2011 was a good month for construction giant M&R. The group recently announced that it secured contracts worth more than R2-billion during October 2011. Northam Platinum appointed Murray & Roberts Cementation to develop two new mining shafts. The value of the contract was R1.3-billion and would take 36 months to complete.
Concor Mining, an M&R affiliate in a joint venture with Basil Read was awarded the contract to develop an open cast mining operation for Assmang Iron Ore at its Beeshoek operation in the Northern Cape. The value of this contract was R722-million and would run from 1 November 2011 to 30 June 2014.
The South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL) awarded a road contract worth R143- million to Concor Roads & Earthworks for the rehabilitation of the N1 between Nelspoort and Drie Susters. The contract is already in progress and will take about two years to complete.
Stefanutti Stocks, one of the country`s leading engineering and construction groups, reported that harsh trading conditions were experienced during the six months ended August 2011.
Group Chief Executive Officer, Willie Meyburgh, said with intensified competition within South Africa, the group has taken advantage of opportunities outside the borders of South Africa to increase its contract revenue to 26% from 22% for the comparable period.
The group reported that its building division produced a commendable performance, with operating margins increasing marginally from 3.9 % to 4% over the comparative period. The turnover for this period was R1.7-billion. New contracts secured included the Cecelia Makiwane hospital in the Eastern Cape, Menlyn Corner and Corobay Corner in Gauteng.
The group reported that its "Zero injuries" campaign continues to produce dividends and the group injury disabling frequency rate declined from 0.29 in August 2010 to 0.22 in August 2011.