JCFC sales decline 15 percent in 2000
The Jordan Cement Factories Company (JCFC) reported a 15 percent decline in total sales during 2000, compared to the same period a year earlier. JCFC Director General Samer Biriqadar told the Jordan Times on Thursday, February 8, that local sales dropped by two percent, while foreign sales fell by 13 percent.
Exports to the Palestinian market dwindled by 38 percent through the whole of 2000, but were concentrated in the last quarter of the year — since the eruption of Al-Aqsa Intifada, said Biriqadar. Before the Palestinian-Israeli clashes broke out on September 28, the JCFC used to export 1,000 tons per day of clinker (raw material for cement manufacture) and cement to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip six days a week.
The JCFC losses from the often blockaded market — due to rigid Israeli measures — are estimated at 300,000 Jordanian dinars ($423,000) a month, according to Biriqadar, who added that shipments to the Palestinian market are still moving at a “slow pace.”
He blamed the drop in local consumption to a downward trend in the construction sector. Against the backdrop of the decrease to the Palestinian market, Biriqadar said the company raised its exports to the Red Sea region by 12 percent.
Although Biriqadar did not disclose any revenue figures, recent releases from the Department of Statistics showed that overall cement exports dropped to JD14.6 million during the first 11 months of 2000, compared to JD15.7 million recorded during the same period the year before.
He added that the introduction of the General Sales Tax which took effect on January 1 had a positive impact on the cement industry as it helped bring cement prices down.
In 1998, the French cement giant Lafarge bought a 33.3 percent stake in the company in what was considered the first major privatization step in the Kingdom. It now owns the lion's share at 43 percent. — ( Jordan Times )
By Rana Awwad
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)