Helped by government’s push in the infrastructure sector, cement demand in the country is expected to touch 8 per cent in 2017-18 fiscal, a top official from JK Cement said on Thursday. “The sector is looking up and with projects in housing, roads and bridges taking off, we expect demand to hit 7 per cent in this fiscal and 8 per cent in 2017-18,” J K Cement Chief Financial Officer (rpt) Chief Financial Officer (CFO) A K Saraogi told reporters here.
Sharing similar views, JK Cement Special Executive Madhavkrishna Singhania said the demand this fiscal will be supported by good monsoons, which is likely to boost spending especially in the rural areas.
“Last one-two years, cement demand was almost muted, but in the next 2-3 years we will witness several projects in the infrastructure space taking-off, which will drive demand,” he added.
According to ratings agency ICRA, cement demand is likely to grow by 6 per cent in the current fiscal and further rise to 7 per cent in 2017-18, on improvement in infrastructure segment, from the relatively muted 5 per cent in 2015-16.
When asked about the prices, Saraogi said that operating costs have risen on account of higher pet coke and other raw material rates.
“The companies will have to pass on the rise to the consumers, but the decision will be market driven,” he added.
On the firm’s expansion, JK Cement Special Executive Raghavpat Singhania said the company already has 10.5 million tonnes (MT) of grey cement capacity, 0.6 MT of white cement capacity in India and UAE each and 0.7 MT of wall putty.
The firm is also hosting the 25th anniversary of its Architect of the Year Awards in the national capital today, which will be presided by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
For this year’s awards, the firm has received 190 entries from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The theme for this year’s awards is ‘Urban Design and Planning’, which is in line with the government’s vision of creating 100 smart cities.
On the awards, JK Cements Chairman and Managing Director Yadupati Singhania said: “Constituted a quarter of a century ago, these awards have ad an exceptionally successful journey of 25 years and has blossomed into a great institution.”