Demand for cement may rise 2-5% in 2012: Fitch

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2012 Published on January 13, 2012

CEMENT   -  Business Line

Demand for cement may grow in the range of 2-5 per cent in 2012 due to poor offtake from both construction and infrastructure sectors, ratings agency Fitch said today.

“The demand for cement is expected to grow in the range of 2 per cent to 5 per cent in 2012. We expect the higher-end of the range to materialise if interest rates fall, leading to an increase in construction activity,” Fitch said.

Around 40 per cent of the country’s cement demand comes from the real estate sector, while the remaining is driven by the infrastructure activity. Cement demand grew marginally in FY 2010-11 to a little over 200 million tonnes.

“Activity in both these sectors is expected to remain muted given low real credit growth,” it added.

Most cement companies are expected to experience pressure on margins in the current fiscal due to a rise in operating costs, Fitch said, adding that the pressure on margins may continue due to the increased price of imported coal, which is further aggravated by a depreciating rupee.

Over-capacity scenario

An existing over-capacity scenario is already there in the cement sector since a long time. The ratings agency said operating margins are expected to be stressed as a result of structural overcapacity, which is likely to continue at least until early 2013.

“We expect capacity utilisation to fall to 72 per cent in FY 2011-12 from 77 per cent in FY2010-11. Southern region’s capacity utilisation is expected to fall to 59 per cent in FY’12 from 63 per cent in FY’11 due to a larger share of capacity increases, followed by the eastern region which is expected to fall to 79 per cent in FY’12 from 83 per cent in FY’11,” it said.

About 24 million tonnes of new capacity has already been added as on September-end, Fitch said, adding that given the existing demand-supply mismatch, some of the planned capacity increase might be postponed.

India’s installed cement making capacity stood at around 300 million tonnes a year by the end of 2010-11.

Published on January 13, 2012
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