PPC shares slump as chairman quits after six years

PPC shares fell to a 12-year low yesterday after South Africa’s largest cement producer announced that chairman Bheki Sibiya had resigned‚ after more than six years at the helm of the group.

His resignation comes at a difficult time for the company.

It has seen its dominance in the South African cement market challenged in recent years‚ amid stagnating demand and new competitive capacity.

In mid-morning trade, PPC’s stock dropped 6.86% to R11.47‚ a level last seen in 2003.

This came after the share fell 8.85% to R12.25 at the JSE’s Monday close‚ after the group reported that overall cement sales volumes had fallen 3% in the year’s first trading quarter.

That was despite anti-dumping duties on cement imports from Pakistan having kicked in.

“I have enjoyed working with PPC over the past seven years‚ despite some unique challenges‚” Sibiya said. “I thank my fellow board members past and present for their support.”

Government spending on large infrastructure projects has been nearly nonexistent since the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

This has left the country’s major listed construction companies on the brink‚ scrabbling for work elsewhere in Africa and further afield amid the global commodities rout.

PPC said it expected to announce a successor to Sibiya in the near future.

It said it had achieved a number of key milestones under Sibiya’s stewardship‚ most notably the successful conversion of the company’s mining rights and the initiation of its African expansion strategy.

PPC also said Sibiya had ensured board continuity and the preservation of corporate expertise in a challenging phase in the company’s history.

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