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Earnings that double in a year are not too shabby for any company when an economy is floundering. For Lucky Cement (PSX: LUCK), this may be business as usual. In its second quarter of the fiscal year, profits (a good 33% of which went to the government in taxes) rose 107 percent, after a 19 percent growth in revenues. This comes as the company continues to sustain very strong market presence and ultimately, pricing power in the markets it operates.

Demand in the construction industry has been slow to recover, if at all. But in the first quarter, Lucky’s offtake was up 35 percent, in 2QFY24, offtake was up by lower, at 13 percent. A quarter of this was exported overseas. This share was only 14 percent in 2QFY23 when exports were lacking in luster. While export growth is extraordinary, it’s the retention prices that facilitated the revenue growth. In 2QFY24, revenue per ton sold is up 6 percent year on year. At the same time, imported coal from international markets became less pricier—costs per ton sold dropped 10 percent for Lucky (estimated using the off-take numbers reported by the company). The cement giant also makes use of local coal for its plant in the North to optimize on costs. It makes sense that the company’s gross margins during the quarter were 36 percent, up from 25 percent in 2QFY23, and higher than the past four consecutive quarters.

The company manages its overheads and finance costs really well—in very rare quarters the combined two tolled beyond 10 percent. Meanwhile, other income buttresses the bottom line plenty—in 2QFY24, other income grew 3.6x which was about 30 percent of the before-tax earnings.

Beyond its well-oiled cement operations, Lucky has its feet dipped in several honey pots—from automobiles to mobile phones and chemicals as well as power. In the quarter under review, dividend income from Lucky Motors contributed significantly to the company’s earnings while recent investments in energy projects are helping cut costs and maintain energy efficiency. If anything, Lucky is not relying purely on luck to conduct its business, and good for them.

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