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Cement industry expects double-digit growth in FY19

twitter-logoPTI | November 29, 2018 | Updated 20:13 IST

New Delhi, Nov 29 (PTI) The cement industry is expecting double-digit growth this fiscal after almost a gap of eight years, primarily led by the government's increased spending on big infrastructure projects, according to the Cement Manufacturers Association. The industry has already recorded around 13 per cent growth in the first half of the current fiscal and expects the momentum to continue further in the second half. The makers have also asked the government to lower the tax rate of 28 per cent applicable on cement under the GST regime, which is at par with luxury goods. "We are expecting a high double-digit growth this year," said CMA President Shailendra Chouksey. Chouksey, also a whole-time director with J K Lakshmi Cement, added: "This would be the first double-digit growth after almost eight years since 2011 when the industry had seen a slow-down." According to him, government projects such as infrastructure build-up, housing for all are "game changer" for the sector. "Various government initiatives are there, and the GDP of the country is growing, which would eventually translate into higher purchasing power. I think, we are going to sustain this kind of growth," he said at the CMA's annual function. According to CMA governing body Member K K Maheswari, housing is the largest segment of demand, but the infrastructure sector is the growth driver. "From 2011 to 2016, the growth rate of the cement industry was below 5 per cent; and if you look at 2017-18, the growth was 9 per cent and in the first half it is 13 per cent largely driven by growth driver which is infrastructure," he said. He added: "In the last 25 years, the industry has grown about 7 per cent." The government is investing on roads and putting a huge sum of Rs 1.46 lakh crore on railway expansion, said Maheswari, who is also managing director of UltraTech. The CMA has also urged the government to bring down the GST rate of 28 per cent. The cement industry has around 60 players with a total installed capacity of around 500 million tonne per annum and had added around 120 MTPA in last five years. The cement industry has a capacity utilisation of 65 to 70 per cent overall. PTI KRH MKJ

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