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Taiwan Cement profits hit record high last year: report

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan-based cement supplier Taiwan Cement Corp. (台灣水泥) on Tuesday posted record earnings in 2013 on rising demand in China, according to the Central News Agency (CNA).

Taiwan Cement posted NT$10.03 billion (US$330 million) in net profit last year, up 28.81 percent from a year earlier, the company said in a statement on Monday. It was the first time the company reported annual net profit exceeding NT$10 billion in its 67-year history.

The company's strong sales in China were reflected in the 2013 results of Hong Kong-listed subsidiary TCC International Holdings Ltd., which posted a 14.7 percent annual increase in revenue.

Sales growth was particularly strong in Guangdong and Guizhou provinces and the Guangxi autonomous region, according to the Taiwan Cement statement.

Taiwan Cement's chairman Koo Cheng-yun (辜成允) earlier said that Taiwan Cement is in talks for three to four acquisition projects in China, some of which were offered by the targeted firms themselves.

Over the last ten years since its entry into China in 2004, Koo said Taiwan Cement has successfully stood out in mainland China. As of the third quarter 2013, Taiwan Cement's China operations boasted 25 kilns with a total annual capacity of 60 million tonnes, the sixth-largest in China.

Annual Capacity to Hit 100 Million Tonnes by 2016

In addition, Taiwan Cement has reportedly cut its production costs to 130-140 yuan (US$21.30-$23) per tonne, among the lowest on either sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Under the guideline of "steady growth and structural transformation" set by the country's new leadership, China will put forth new major construction projects that will enable the cement industry to enjoy steady growth for the next eight to 10 years, according to Koo. Koo is confident about hitting the goal of 100 million tonnes in annual capacity by 2016, which will make Taiwan Cement the fifth-largest cement maker in China.

Simultaneously, earnings per share rose to NT$2.71 in 2013 — also a record high — compared with NT$2.11 recorded in 2012.

Taiwan Cement said its consolidated sales for 2013 rose 2.11 percent year-on-year to about NT$116.10 billion, while its gross margin rose about 4 percentage points from a year earlier to 19.66 percent.

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