By Nishel Fernando
Sri Lanka’s local cement production extended its growth momentum to January this year after recording 15.9 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) growth in 2020 driven by the pent-up construction demand following the slowdown during the first half of the year.
In 2020, the local cement production reached 3.93 million metric tonnes (MT) while imports declined by 31.2 percent YoY to 3.25 million MT, which was mainly due to import controls imposed after the first COVID-19 wave in the country.
Overall, local cement production and imports declined by 11.5 percent YoY to 7.2 million MT in 2020.
In particular, local cement production rose by a record 56.8 percent YoY to 400,000 MT in December last year, and it continued to grow in January 2021 recording a 15.5 percent YoY growth, producing 364,790 MT of cement. The cement imports declined by 2.9 percent YoY in December to 304,000 MT.
Thailand-based Siam City Cement Public Company Limited, which owns Siam City Cement (Lanka) Limited aka INSEE Cement estimated that Sri Lanka’s cement consumption to have grown by to 6 million MT in 2020 from 5.9 million MT despite pandemic effects.
“Demand in Sri Lanka upturned positively from pent-up construction demand since Q3, resulting in full year volume growth over prior year. Cement prices remained reasonably flat over the period,” the company said. In 2020, INSEE Cement posted 4.5 percent YoY growth in revenue reaching 5.65 billion THB.
Similarly, Tokyo Cement posted 23 percent YoY growth in revenue during the final quarter of 2020 surpassing Rs.6 billion mark.
Siam City expects a steady demand for cement during this year backed up by infrastructure projects and growing housing demand.
Further, the local cement production and competition among cement producers are also expected grow with at least one new cement plant scheduled to come into operations this year.
Lanwa Sanstha Cement Corporation is scheduled to commence operations of its US$ 75 million manufacturing plant with a three million MT capacity in May this year.