According to Instinctif Partners, the rapid acceleration in the depreciation of the South African exchange rate in December 2015 has widely been seen as evidence of South Africa’s poor macro policy and ultimately a reflection of worsened foreign investor sentiment following the controversial changes at the National Treasury.

Friday, 13 July 2007 02:00

Enough to go round

The new National Credit Act may be having a dampening effect on the rampant demand for cement in the country, according to PPC CEO John Gomersall.

john gomersall"Demand from residential developers is slowing, the banks' conditions are tighter they're not giving 100% bonds anymore," he says, adding that PPC anticipated last year that this could precipitate a slowdown in cement demand.

This, he says, has reduced to some extent the necessity for PPC to import cement to keep its customers supplied.

Gomersall is visibly annoyed by suggestions that the country is experiencing cement shortages and claims that those who voice opinions on looming cement shortages are speaking from ignorance.

He says large projects such as the Gautrain and Eskom power stations will not use as much cement as everyone believes, and that the quantity needed will be spread over a number of years, while cement production will be growing incrementally.

"I still think cement demand will grow at a compound 6%/year until at least 2014, but I am not sure there will be an equivalent 6% growth in skills over that same period," says Gomersall.

"I'm talking about the managerial and engineering skills needed to design, tender, contract and manage projects."

Asked about an investigation into building material prices alluded to by President Thabo Mbeki in a TV interview last week, Gomersall says he has not heard of any such investigation.

He says cement is a cyclical commodity, and it's important in the up-cycle that those who take the risk and invest large sums of money in new capital equipment should be rewarded.

He says the reason PPC's accounts look so good is that the group's assets are depreciated to a value of about R2 billion on the balance sheet but the insurance value of these assets is closer to R16 billion.

In the six months to March the group reflected an operating margin of 38% on revenue of R2,6 billion, one percentage point lower than the previous year.

"The retailers say they would love margins that look like that, but they can't have them because they haven't made the capital investments," he says.

Cement demand grew 12% last year, outstripping the 8% projection and exceeding forecasts for a third year in a row.

But the feeling at PPC is that it is unlikely to be as high this year. Chief operating officer Orrie Fenn says demand in Cape Town has dropped steeply.

The group hopes to have its R4bn empowerment transaction completed by September, "broad-based with staff participation", says Gomersall.

A 15% equity stake will be transferred.

Earlier this month, Barloworld said that for every one share held in Barloworld, shareholders would get the equivalent of 1,8555 PPC shares in the unbundling of PPC.

On Monday the PPC shares also started trading after a 10-for-one split, part of the restructuring exercise and meant to encourage liquidity.

Gomersall says he does not expect the split to create much change in the two share registers - though there there may be some shorting of the shares.

PPC closed up 90c at R52 after its first day after the unbundling.

 

Tuesday, 24 April 2007 02:00

Singapore company to invest in Coega

A Singapore company would invest nearly R6bn in a chlorine manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth, the Coega Development Corporation said yesterday.

Comment from Neil Gopal, CEO SAPOA, on the announcement of no short-term moratorium on the sale of land to foreigners as proposed by a ministerial task team on foreign land ownership in South Africa

THE R1,3bn Alexandra Renewal Project will not meet its 2007 housing deadline, a fact project officials have been aware of for some time despite rosy reports to the contrary.

Wednesday, 17 August 2005 02:00

Sapoa, housing minister in talks

Sapoa says it and the national housing department have agreed on a joint working relationship to tackle problems surrounding housing delivery, infrastructure and the backlog in rezoning applications.

Tuesday, 16 August 2005 02:00

Support for Mbeki over golf estates

President Thabo Mbeki’s scathing remarks about the adverse effect of golf estates and boomed areas on residential integration have found surprise backers in the property development sector.

Tuesday, 16 August 2005 02:00

Stopping the inner-city rot

Brickfields Housing Project officially opened

Tuesday, 10 May 2005 02:00

Limpopo plans to double growth rate

Limpopo wants to position itself as the logistics hub of the region.

The KwaZulu-Natal Education Department has unveiled an ambitious multi-billion Rand programme to expedite the delivery of classrooms

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