Local cement industry to grow 6% in 2014

THE local cement industry is seen to grow at least 6.0 percent up to 8.0 percent this year, an official of a leading firm in the industry said in an interview.

Eduardo A. Sahagun, Holcim Philippines Inc. chief executive officer, said the cement demand in the country will continue to grow with the rebuilding efforts of the government after the devastation in infrastructures in calamity-stricken areas.

Sahagun noted the on-going projects as well as those in the pipeline public-private partnership (PPP) projects support the growth of the industry.

The government hastens PPP projects particularly in public infrastructures such as roads and bridges that will ease the transportation and logistics system in the country for travelers and movement of commodities.

In his State of the Nation Address (Sona) Monday, President Benigno Aquino cited some of the PPP projects such as the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, and NAIA Expressway Project Phase 2, among many others.

Projects in the pipeline, likewise, include Laoag City Bypass Link Road Project, Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project, LRT Line 1 South Extension, Line 2 East Extension, Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike, Busuanga Airport, and Clark Green City.

The booming construction projects of the private sector also boost the demand in cement, according to Sahagun.

Earlier this year, big real estate firms disclosed their construction plans for both Metro Manila and outside the National Capital Region whether residential developments, malls and retails, and office spaces, among others.

In order to continue the cement industry growth, the government should implement its budget for public infrastructure.

From 2011 up to this year, the government has doubled its infrastructure budget from Php200.3 billion to Php404.3 billion.

Likewise, Sahagun said the increasing interest rate may also affect the growth of the industry as private firms also depend on this in their borrowing activities to support their projects.

During the first quarter of this year, construction activities – which backs demand in the cement industry – grew by 20.8 percent to 29,468 projects from Q1 2013’s 24,400 projects.

Holcim Philippines is the leading cement firm in the country. (PNA)

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