Sat, 09 Oct 1999

Semen Gresik expects sales to increase

JAKARTA (JP): Publicly listed cement producer PT Semen Gresik estimates total cement sales will increase to 12 million tons this year from 10.28 million tons in 1998.

Company president Urip Timuryono said on Friday that five million tons of total sales would go to export markets.

The company said total sales increased by 33 percent to 8.39 million tons in the January to August period.

"We are certain that with rising demand from export markets we can operate on a 70 percent capacity," Urip said on Friday after the company's extraordinary shareholders meeting.

Semen Gresik, which has a total production capacity of 17.3 million tons a year, booked total sales of 8.4 million tons during the January to August period, a surge of 33 percent from the same period last year on the back of higher exports.

During the period, the company exported about three million tons, rising significantly from 813,000 tons in the same period last year.

Domestic sales reached 5.4 million tons in the eight month period, down 1.4 percent from 5.5 million tons in the same period in 1998.

Urip said that Semen Gresik's cement was sold at an average of US$24 per ton in overseas markets.

Semen Gresik's export markets are Australia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Yemen, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Chile, Dubai and Mauritius.

At the press briefing, Urip denied media reports that the government planned a further sale of its stake in Semen Gresik to its existing strategic investor Cemex S.A. de C.V. of Mexico.

"There is no such plan as of now," he said adding that Cemex still owned a 25 percent stake in Semen Gresik.

Last year, Cemex bought a 14 percent stake in Semen Gresik from the government and another 6 percent from the public through a tender offer. The Mexican cement producer bought another 5 percent this year in order to have a seat on Semen Gresik's board of directors and commissioners.

The current shareholding position of Semen Gresik is the government (51 percent), Cemex (25 percent) and the public (24 percent), according to Urip.

Semen Gresik, which wholly owns PT Semen Padang in West Sumatra and PT Semen Tonasa in South Sulawesi, is the first of the state-owned firms to be sold to strategic investors since the government's privatization program began last year.

Shareholders of Semen Gresik also appointed Setiadi Dirgo as the company's president commissioner, replacing Anwar Nasution who is currently appointed as the senior deputy governor of Bank Indonesia.

Setiadi was a retired government official who previously had served as Semen Gresik's president director and simultaneously as chairman of the board of commissioners of PT Semen Cibinong from 1981 to 1988. (udi)