PPC’s joint venture factory in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been a big drag on group results for the year ended March 2018, making up nearly half the company’s losses. SA’s moribund major construction sector did not help matters. Revenues from the main South African cement market fell marginally in the period. Meanwhile, high taxes, the soaring cost of sales, forex losses elsewhere in Africa and heavy impairments helped SA’s largest cement producer to increase its total comprehensive loss to R561m in the year from R496m in financial 2017. Group administration and other operating expenditure rose 28% to R1.34bn in the period, affected by corporate action, restructuring, separation costs and other nonrecurring costs. The high group tax rate of 68%, excluding the effect of equity-accounted earnings, was mainly due to the nondeductibility of some abnormal costs, including impairments, and tax penalties in Zimbabwe. The rate in future should be 30%-35%. “There is a lot of noise i...

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