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Cement Sector Analysis Report 

[Key Points | Financial Year '20 | Prospects | Sector Do's and dont's]

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  • India is the world’s second largest cement market, both in production and consumption. Of the total production capacity, 98% lies with the private sector and 2% with the public sector. The top 20 companies account for around 70% of the total production. Housing and real estate sectors account for nearly 65% of the total cement consumption in India.
  • However, the presence of small & mid-sized cement players across regions is increasing, which reduces the bargaining power of industry leaders. A large number of foreign players have also entered the market owing to the attractive profit margins, stable and growing demand and right valuations.
  • Ever since it was deregulated in 1982, the Indian cement industry has attracted huge investments, both from Indian as well as foreign investors. According to the data released by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), cement and gypsum products attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth US$ 5.3 billion between April 2000 and March 2020.
  • Higher government spending on infrastructure and housing, and rising per capita incomes have been the key growth drivers for the cement industry.
  • Cement demand is also closely linked to the overall economic growth, particularly the housing and infrastructure sector. Long term cement demand growth rate is estimated at 1.2 times the GDP growth rate.
  • The Government of India has taken various measures to boost infrastructure in the country, which will help boost demand for the cement sector. In addition to its smart cities’ initiative, it has announced The National Infrastructure Pipeline which has introduced projects worth US$ 1.5 trillion for the next five years.
  • It also has plans to set up a Credit Guarantee Enhancement Corporation, to enhance the source of capital for infrastructure financing, for which regulations have been notified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The government has decided to adopt cement instead of bitumen for the construction of all new road projects on the grounds that cement is more durable and cheaper to maintain than bitumen in the long run. It also plans to expand the capacity of the railways and the facilities for handling and storage to ease the transportation of cement and reduce transportation costs.

How to Research the Cement Sector (Key Points)

  • Supply
  • The demand-supply situation is highly skewed with the latter being significantly higher.
  • Demand
  • Housing sector acts as the principal growth driver for cement. However, industrial and infrastructure sectors have also emerged as demand drivers.
  • Barriers to entry
  • High, as there are high capital costs and long gestation periods. Access to limestone reserves also acts as a significant entry barrier.
  • Bargaining power of suppliers
  • High. Licensing of coal and limestone reserves, supply of power from the state grid, etc. are all controlled by a single entity, which is the government.
  • Bargaining power of Buyers
  • Low, as the cement industry in India is largely an oligopoly with larger players having pricing control.
  • Competition
  • Intense competition with players expanding reach and achieving pan India-presence. The industry is a lot more consolidated than a couple of decades ago with a few large players controlling substantial market share.
  • Threat of substitutes
  • No threats, as there is no substitute for cement. Cement is already replacing bitumen – a widely used alternative.

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Financial Year '20

  • After a healthy cement demand growth of around 9% in FY19, FY20 exhibited a mid-cycle slowdown with a growth of 1.5% to 2%, impacted by the broader economic environment. Total cement production reached 329 million tonnes while total cement sales stood at Rs 637 billion.
  • Apart from the general economic slowdown, cement demand was sluggish during the year due to extended monsoons, low-capital expenditure in infrastructure activities and stresses in the NBFC and housing segments.
  • As cement manufacturing is an energy-intensive process, there is a high dependence on coal and petcoke. International coal and petcoke prices witnessed a sharp drop in second half of 2019, however freight prices were on the higher side due to International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations and volatility in the market.
  • The availability of domestic coal in FY20 improved and all old linkage backlogs were cleared, leading to a price advantage. Domestic coal-linkage Fuel Supply Agreements (FSA) of majority cement players expired in June, 2018, which were auctioned in Tranche-IV between August and December 2018 and movement started from 2QFY20.
  • In February 2020, Nuvoco Corporation announced the acquisition of Emami Cement for an enterprise value of Rs 55 billion. The deal is seen as an attempt to bring down the promoters' pledge in the Emami Group's flagship arm, Emami.
  • During the same period, Shree Cement announced its plans to enter India's western region with a 2.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) grinding unit near Pune. The company intends to invest around Rs 6.3 billion (US$ 89.4 million) in the project and targets to expand its capacity to 55 MTPA by 2023 and 75-80 MTPA by 2026.
  • In March 2020, Heidelberg Cement completed the de-bottlenecking of its two projects, one in Madhya Pradesh and the other in Uttar Pradesh within the scheduled timelines. The grinding capacity of these plants stand enhanced to 2.5 MTPA and 3.25 MTPA, respectively.
  • In 2018, Ambuja Cement had invested Rs 13.9 million (US$ 214.86 million) to set up a 1.7 MTPA greenfield clinker plant in Marwar Mundwa, Rajasthan, which was expected to be operational in the second half of FY20. However, due to the pandemic, it has been delayed and is expected to be operational in 2021.

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Prospects:

  • The demand of cement industry is expected to achieve 550-600 million tonnes per annum by 2025 because of the expanding requests of different divisions i.e. housing, commercial construction and industrial construction.
  • The country's demand growth is likely to be led by East and Central regions and will be primarily from affordable housing and infrastructure creation and the cement sector is expected to largely benefit from it. Some of the major initiatives such as development of smart cities are expected to provide a major boost to the sector.
  • Government initiatives like Housing for All will also push demand in the sector. Affordable housing initiatives are expected to pick up pace under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) with enhanced budgetary allocation by 9% over last fiscal's estimates. PMAY-Urban has an overall target of constructing 11.2 million houses by 2022, of which 10.3 million houses were sanctioned as of January 2020.
  • Strong growth in rural housing and low-cost housing is expected to amplify demand. PMAY-Rural has the overall target of 19.5 million units, of which about 9 million units stand completed as of December, 2019.
  • Demand in Tier II cities can also be expected to improve with increased construction of commercial centers and office spaces.
  • Improvement in public infrastructure is also expected to boost demand for the sector. As per Union Budget 2019-20, the government is expected to upgrade 125,000 kms of road length over the next five years. Projects like Dedicated Freight Corridors and ports are also under development. Metro rail projects are already underway in most major cities.

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FAQs on the Cement Sector

When is a good time to invest in the cement sector?

As the demand for cement is closely linked to the economy, cement stocks are usually riskier - their fortunes are prone to economic booms and busts. For this reason, they are often called cyclical stocks. Generally considered an offensive tactic in investing, cyclical stocks can be used to generate high returns when the economy is doing well.

Therefore, the best time to buy such stocks (cement stocks) is at the start of an economic expansion and the best time to sell them is just before the economy begins to slow down. However, before selecting a stock, one must check whether the industry is due for revival or not.

Where can I find a list of cement stocks?

The details of listed cement companies can be found on the NSE and BSE website. However, the overload of financial information on these websites can be overwhelming.

For a more direct and concise view of this information, you can check out our list of cement stocks.

Which cement stocks were the top performers over the last 5 years?

Ambuja Cement, Shree Cement and Birla Corporation were the top cement performers over the last 5 years in terms of sales and profit growth.

Ambuja Cement's growth can be attributed to its pan India presence, strong market share and parentage whereas Shree Cement's growth can be attributed to the extensive experience of its management team, large distribution network and a strong operational and diversified revenue profile.

Birla Corporation also has shown steady growth on the back of its strong rural presence and market position.

To know which other companies performed well over the last 5 years, check out our entire list of top performers.

What kind of dividend yields do cement stocks offer?

There is no consistent trend of dividends across the industry, with different companies having different dividend policies.

For more details, check out our list of top cement stocks offering high dividend yields.

Which are the cement stocks with the highest returns on capital employed (RoCE)?

Return on capital employed (ROCE) is a financial ratio that can be used in assessing a company's profitability and capital efficiency by determining how well the management is able to allocate capital for future growth. An RoCE of above 15% is considered decent for companies that are in an expansionary phase.

Ramco Cement, Shree Cement and Heidelberg Cement are the top cement stocks right now on the Return on Capital Employed (RoCE) parameter.

To know which other cement stocks offer great return on capital employed, you can check out the top cement stocks offering the best RoCE here.

Which are the best cement stocks to invest in currently?

Investing in stocks requires careful analysis of financial data to find out a company's true worth. However, an easier way to find out about a company's performance is to look at its financial ratios.

Two commonly used financial ratios used in the valuation of stocks are -

  • Price to Earnings Ratio (P/E) - It compares the company's stock price with its earnings per share. The higher the P/E ratio, the more expensive the stock.

    To find stocks with favorable P/E Ratios, check out our list of cement stocks according to their P/E Ratios

  • Price to Book Value Ratio (P/BV) - It compares a firm's market capitalization to its book value. A high P/BV indicates markets believe the company's assets to be undervalued and vice versa.

    To find stocks with favorable P/BV Ratios, check out our list of cement stocks according to their P/BV Ratios

Resources on the Cement sector

Views on News

JK CEMENT Announces Quarterly Results (3QFY21); Net Profit Up 73.2% (Quarterly Result Update)

Feb 10, 2021 | Updated on Feb 10, 2021

For the quarter ended December 2020, JK CEMENT has posted a net profit of Rs 2 bn (up 73.2% YoY). Sales on the other hand came in at Rs 18 bn (up 25.3% YoY). Read on for a complete analysis of JK CEMENT's quarterly results.

SHREE CEMENT Announces Quarterly Results (3QFY21); Net Profit Up 102.0% (Quarterly Result Update)

Feb 1, 2021 | Updated on Feb 1, 2021

For the quarter ended December 2020, SHREE CEMENT has posted a net profit of Rs 6 bn (up 102.0% YoY). Sales on the other hand came in at Rs 33 bn (up 16.2% YoY). Read on for a complete analysis of SHREE CEMENT's quarterly results.

JK CEMENT 2019-20 Annual Report Analysis (Annual Result Update)

Dec 1, 2020 | Updated on Dec 1, 2020

Here's an analysis of the annual report of JK CEMENT for 2019-20. It includes a full income statement, balance sheet and cash flow analysis of JK CEMENT. Also includes updates on the valuation of JK CEMENT.

ACC 2018-19 Annual Report Analysis (Annual Result Update)

Oct 20, 2020 | Updated on Oct 20, 2020

Here's an analysis of the annual report of ACC for 2018-19. It includes a full income statement, balance sheet and cash flow analysis of ACC . Also includes updates on the valuation of ACC .

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