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ACC gains from housing boom

Mumbai, July 24: Cost cutting measures and a housing boom helped Associated Cement Companies (ACC), the country’s second largest cement maker, to double its first-quarter profits to Rs 44.14 crore as against Rs 19.84 crore a year ago. Net sales of the company surged 9.2 per cent to Rs 962 crore.

ACC’s sales volume rose 6 per cent, while interest costs dropped 25 per cent in the past quarter.

“The results are quite encouraging and slightly better than expectations,” said Avinash Gorakshakar, an analyst at Emkay Share and Stock Brokers. “It could get better in the second and third quarters,” Avinash added.

However, a section of the industry feels that a huge overcapacity was looming large. Sanghi Cement has started production, while a consolidation is taking place in the industry for the first time after many years. This could keep cement prices under control and the next quarter could see the monsoon slowing down the construction activity.

The ACC shares were in the limelight today as marketmen were taken by surprise at the good results.

GE Shipping net up

Great Eastern Shipping Company has reported a 227.6 per cent rise in its net profit for first quarter ended June 30, 2003, at Rs 96.23 crore as against Rs 29.37 crore in the same period in the previous fiscal and announced a dividend of Rs 4 per share.

Total income of the company grew 31.45 per cent at Rs 304.10 crore during the April-June period over Rs 231.33 crore in 2002-03, managing director Bharat Seth said.

“The performance can be attributed to increased revenue days, marginal increase in tonnage, strong dry bulk markets and lower repairs and maintenance expenditure on ships and vessels due to lesser lay ups and higher utilisation,” he said. The dividend will account for an overall outflow of Rs 85.88 crore, he said.

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