AFRICA’S biggest cement maker, the struggling PPC, was the biggest mover on the JSE yesterday morning with its share price up 11.8 percent to 85 cents after an update said interim earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) would increase 12 to 17 percent.

The share closed at R0.87.
In the six months to September 30, 2019, PPC reported Ebitda of R868 million. Also positively for the group, it said the March 31 prior period restatements, and those for the September 30, 2019 interim results, would lift earnings and headline earnings for the six months to September 30, 2019, by 34 and 28 cents a share, respectively. Net asset value at the last interim period was also increased by R301m to R7.7 billion.

PPC, which has production facilities across South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda, has previously been criticised by investors and analysts about the restatements to its published accounts.

PPC’s share price has fallen in a consistent downward trend from more than R15 a share five years ago, which analysts have blamed largely due to the group being such an integral part of the declining construction sector, a large debt overhang, and because it trades in an overcrowded market impacted also by cheaper imports.

The cement maker identified another error in past results. Retained earnings and property, plant and equipment not being hyperinflated correctly had meant a 2 percent downward adjustment on earnings and headline earnings a share for the interim period of last year.

Net asset value however increased by R1.2bn to R8.9bn.

PPC said group revenue was expected to be 1 percent to 5 percent higher than R4.9bn reported for the six months ended September 30.
Basic earnings a share and headline earnings a share were expected to be 35 percent to 45 percent lower than the restated 32 cents of last year, with the decrease primarily due to non-cash related items.

Directors said they had also experienced a strong recovery in cement sales in the second quarter of their 2021 financial year.

PPC continued to make progress on refinancing and signed agreements with its main lenders, at much the same terms as for the year ended March 31, 2020.