Ambuja Cement has reported that its net profit in the first quarter of the financial year ended March was down 30 per cent at ₹856 crore against ₹1,228 crore logged in the same period last year, on back of higher operational cost.

Income increased three per cent to ₹7,990 crore (from ₹7,812 crore). Overall expenses jumped 10 per cent to ₹6,813 crore (from ₹6,177 crore). Sales volume of the company, excluding its subsidiary ACC, increased to 7.49 million tonne (7.24 mt).

Neeraj Akhoury, Managing Director, Ambuja Cements said the new Marwar cement plant in Rajasthan is now operating at full capacity and an additional cement capacity of about 9 mtpa at Ropar and Bhatapara are on track. The company plans to grow cement capacity to 100 mtpa, he said.

The financial performance in the March quarter was impacted by rising fuel prices due to which Ebitda was lower by 23 per cent at ₹1,424 crore (from ₹1,838 crore). On the cost, it said freight cost per tonne declined 5 per cent supported by logistics efficiencies. However, total operating cost per tonne jumped 15 per cent due to increased fuel cost, it said.

The company expects cement demand to improve with key indicators such as GST collection, power demand and e-invoice point towards a recovery in domestic economy. Government’s focus on infrastructure and housing and the Production Linked Incentive scheme for the manufacturing sector will further provide impetus to cement demand growth, it added.