Lower cement prices due to weak demand impacted the third quarter performance of UltraTech Cement. The Aditya Birla Group firm posted a 38% year-on-year decline in net profit to R370 crore in the quarter ended December 31.
The total income saw a marginal dip of 1.8% to R4,886 crore, while profit before interest depreciation and tax declined to R864 crore from R1,145 crore in the year-ago period.
The domestic cement and clinker sales remained flat at 9.7 million tonnes, while it was 2.89 lakh metric tonnes (LmT), up from 2.62 LmT, for white cement and wall care putty.
“On-going cost optimisation measures have helped in containing costs despite the continuing increase in input and logistics cost,” the company said in a statement. Its power and fuel costs were down to R1,002 crore against R1,082 crore in the same quarter last year. However, the total expenses surged by over 5% to R4,286 crore during the quarter from R4,072 crore, primarily due to rise in freight and forwarding expenses.
“The outlook continues to remain challenging. Long-term demand growth is likely to be around 8%. The key demand drivers will continue to be housing and infrastructure spends,” it said.