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Cement makers to add 150-160 MTPA capacity by fiscal 2028 - CRISIL

Posted On: 2024-01-23 23:13:14 (Time Zone: IST)


Incremental supply, stiffer competition to limit price growth; benign costs to aid margin

The Indian cement sector will add 150-160 million tonne per annum (MTPA) capacity in the five years starting this fiscal, through both organic and inorganic routes, with an eye on anticipated demand growth in infrastructure and housing and in a bid to capture market share in a highly fragmented and competitive industry.

In the last five fiscals, the industry added 119 MTPA capacity to reach a total of 595 MTPA.

As much as 70-75 MT of the capacity addition is expected to be commissioned next fiscal, with 50-55% concentrated in the eastern and central regions. Large players will account for 50-55% of the planned capacity addition.

Robust demand in the past two fiscals1 has bolstered the balance sheets of large players and some mid-sized ones2 with strong market presence, prompting them to expand capacity on the back of healthy cash accrual and credit profile.

This fiscal, demand is projected to grow 10-12%, driven by government push to affordable housing and pre-election spending on infrastructure.

That said, incremental supply and heightened competition will limit price growth to 0-1%, maintaining prices at Rs 390-395 per 50 kg bag, and keep utilisation at 70-75%.

Next fiscal, CRISIL MI&A expects demand to grow a moderate 4-6% on a high base of the previous three fiscals. Also, rising raw material cost and a flat base will lead to an uptick of 1-3% in prices to Rs 400-405 per 50 kg bag.

Says Miren Lodha, Director- Research, CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics, "Cement prices slipped marginally, by ~1%, during April-December 2023, marking a trend reversal after four years of growth between fiscals 2020 and fiscal 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 4%. With cement makers adding 35-40 MTPA of capacity this fiscal, the highest in more than a decade, and acquired capacities being ramped up, a significant increase in supply would test market discipline and restrict the increase in prices to only 0-1%."

Says Sehul Bhatt, Associate Director- Research, CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics, "Softening of power, fuel and freight costs, which account for ~50% of the total production cost, has provided a breather to manufacturers amid steady realisations. Hence, lower costs, steady prices and healthy volumes will expand the sector's operating margin by 300-350 basis points (bps) to 16.5-18.5% this fiscal. The rebound in profitability comes after a contraction of ~620 bps last fiscal due to higher petcoke and coal prices."


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