Cement companies likely to miss sales growth target
Despite rising sales through the March quarter, the domestic cement industry is unlikely to meet the earlier expectation of eight to nine per cent growth for the current financial year. Industry analysts say it will end in growth of around five per cent this year. Sales for March from cement majors ACC and UltraTech Cement signal that overall growth for the industry in the month may not accelerate, compared with what was seen for February, when sales growth was 7.2 per cent overall. Swiss major Holcim-owned ACC posted sales growth of 12.4 per cent in March on an year-on-year (y-o-y) basis; it was 17 per cent in February. Similarly, UltraTech's sales rose 2.2 per cent in March compared to a year before; in February, the rise was 6.4 per cent. Only, Ambuja Cements, sister concern of ACC, continued with an upside trend, at 6.8 per cent in March, after 4.7 per cent in February. The three majors control one-third of the cement market in the country. Other prominent cement players are Jaiprakash Associates, Shree Cement, India Cements and Madras Cements. Even cement demand in the central and northern regions, and Gujarat, has turned sluggish in the past one week, after strong demand seen till mid-March.