Local cement offtake has remained unimpressive, and export sales have been taking a beating. With domestic demand not growing at industry’s expectation, and exports not rising to meet the weak domestic demand, the cement sector growth has been axed.
Lucky Cement Limited (PSX: LUCK) also faced a decline in offtake of over five percent year-on-year during the 1H of the fiscal year (FY22). One of the reasons is the decline in clinker exports, which has been of a sizeable share in LUCK’s exports. Also, seasonality took a toll on local cement dispatches in the country.
However, the cement giant’s topline was seen growing by 31 percent year-on-year in 2QFY22 and by 25 percent year-on-year in 1HFY22 due to higher prices in the north and south during the period. However, cement prices have started to gradually come down too now against the industry dynamics. While the gross profit was seen growing by 8 percent year on-year in 1HFY22 (flat in 2QFY22), gross margins declined due to higher coal prices (energy costs) and currency depreciation.
The company has negligible finance cost as a share of revenue due to minimum debt. What supported LUCK’s bottomline growth 1HFY22 was close to three times increase in other income. Growth in other income came from dividend income from ICI in the last quarter. Lucky Cement’s profits in 1HFY22 were seen growing by 27 percent year-on-year, where PAT in 2QFY22 was up by 7.6 percent.
Volatility in cement sector is offset by LUCK’s expansion and diversification projects whether it’s the upcoming manufacturing of Samsung phones, or Lucky Electric Power Limited (LEPL), or expansion of 3.1 million tons in North with COD expected at year end (2022), or 660MW coal power plant with COD expected next month.