Chile
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Polpaico posts US$12.8mn net loss in 2002

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Chilean cement maker Polpaico posted a 9.28bn peso (US$12.8mn) net loss in 2002, down 27.7% from the year before, Polpaico said in a statement to the country's securities regulator, the SVS. Over the same period, operating profits increased 62.2% to 11.9bn pesos and sales increased 5.5% to 115bn pesos due to an optimization of product mix and a drop in sales costs. However, these gains were offset by investment losses at related companies and an increase in non-operating income costs due to the closure of its pre-fabricated concrete products subsidiary Multicret. Polpaico, a subsidiary of Switzerland's Holcim, led January sales with a 37.6% market share, followed by Cementos Melon, controlled by France's Lafarge, with 35.7% and Cementos Bio Bio, controlled by Chile's Briones group, with 26.8%. Cement sales in Chile fell 0.8% in January to 328,568t compared to the same month last year, while sales dropped 1.9% to 3.46Mt in the 12 months through January 2003 compared to the previous 12-month period, the country's construction chamber reported. Although last year's stagnant local construction market - along with the traditional lull in activity in January due to the southern hemisphere's summer season - explains the decline, the chamber expects sales to increase more than 3% this year due to stronger demand from infrastructure projects, in particular urban highway works.

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