UltraTech Cement's net profit slumps 42 per cent

UltraTech Cement, an Aditya Birla group company, has reported a 42 per cent fall in net profit at Rs243 crore for the quarter ended 30 June, against Rs418 crore in the same period last year. The company attributed the dip to a sharp drop in cement prices and rise in raw material costs.

Net sales were down by 8.4 per cent to Rs1,790 crore as cement prices softened by over 20 per cent in the southern markets, which account for three-fourths of the company's sales. UltraTech expects pressure on prices and margins to continue in the short term, but said cement demand is likely to grow 10 per cent through the year.

Production increased marginally to 4.63 million tonnes from 4.52 mt in the year-ago period. The earnings per share (diluted) was Rs19.48 crore (against Rs33.56).

The company has earmarked a capital expenditure programme of Rs5,600 crore for additional clinker plants at Chhattisgarh and Karnataka as well as grinding units and bulk packaging terminals across various states.

The new investment plan will be in addition to the ongoing Rs2,600-crore capex, spread over the next three years, the company said in a press release on Thursday.

Together with the capex of Samruddhi Cement, due to be merged with UltraTech Cement, the total capital outlay works out to over Rs10,000 crore.