PPC Limited, parent to PPC Zimbabwe says it noted an increased availability of foreign currency in the Zimbabwean economy for the five months ended 31 August 2022 as 70% of cement sales during the period occurred in foreign currency.

This revelation comes at a time when there has been a noticeable increase in foreign currency in the country after the government has been continuously implementing strict measures to try and stabilise the exchange rate which has seen a decline in local currency in circulation and an increase in forex.

In a trading update, PPC limited said during the period under review, PPC Zimbabwe implemented US$ price increases of 5% in March 2022, 2% in April 2022 and a further 5% increase in August 2022.

“The cement market in Zimbabwe continued to show robust high single-digit growth as a result of both residential construction and government-funded infrastructure projects,” PPC Limited said.

However, owing to the planned maintenance implemented at the beginning of the fiscal year 2023, PPC Zimbabwe recorded a 7% decline in cement sales period on period.

Meanwhile, excluding Zimbabwe which is impacted by hyperinflation accounting, PPC’s group revenue increased by 9% driven by robust demand in Rwanda.

PPC Limited highlighted that in Rwanda, CIMERWA continues to see strong demand for cement in all its markets, with cement sales volumes increasing by 16% period on period, while domestic cement sales benefited from increased demand from government-sponsored infrastructure projects and a recovery in general building activity.

Group cement sales volumes (including Zimbabwe) for the five months were in line with the previous comparable period as subdued demand in South Africa and the impact of a maintenance-related kiln shutdown in Zimbabwe were offset by robust demand growth in Rwanda.

Cement sales volumes in South Africa and Botswana decreased by 1% period-on-period.

PPC Limited noted that without a significant increase in infrastructure investments, cement demand in South Africa is anticipated to remain subdued.

“PPC South Africa is well positioned to benefit from an increase in cement demand with additional capacity available to capture an upswing in demand without additional Capex investment required,” the Group said.

Looking forward, the Group says it will continue to enhance operational efficiencies to mitigate the impact of rising input cost inflation in light of the give current economic climate.

“PPC Zimbabwe anticipates a recovery for the balance of the financial year and the outlook for CIMERWA remains positive,” PPC Limited said.