International Cement Group (formerly Compact Metal Industries), a cement producer and distributor in the Central Asia region, announced that its 1H20 earnings have increased by some 23% to $6.0 million from $4.9 million in 1H19.

This translates to earnings per share of 0.1 cent, up from 0.09 cent last year.

This came on the back of a 9% increase in revenue to $63.1 million from $58.0 million a year ago, thanks to a 17% increase in cement sales driven by higher demand for cement in Tajikistan.

However, the revenue growth was partially offset by y a 48% decline in revenue from the aluminium division, mainly due to the suspension of construction activities since the start of the circuit breaker period in Singapore and the cessation of the aluminium extrusion business in Malaysia since the end of 2019.

Other income saw a significant increase to $3.0 million from just $156,000 in the previous year. This year’s other income comprises government grants (Jobs Support Scheme and property tax rebate) of $0.3 million and refund of land premium from JTC in March 2020 for the return of land in end 2019, amounting to $2.6 million.

During the period, the group did not record an impairment loss, compared to $1.5 million in impairment loss in 1H19.

As at end-June, the group’s cash and cash equivalents (excluding pledged deposits) stood at $19.9 million.

The group recently completed the construction of its first cement plant in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan and commenced operations in April 2020. However, the commencement of sales has been delayed due to lockdown measures implemented from mid-March 2020 to May 2020, and again from early July 2020, in the country’s main cities of Nur-Sultan and Almaty.

As sales can only begin when lockdown measures in Almaty are eased, the group will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and commence sales from its Kazakhstan plant when possible.

Ma Zhaoyang, International Cement Group’s chairman says, “We are encouraged by our strong performance for the first half of 2020, despite challenging global conditions largely brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, we will continue to monitor our operations vigilantly, especially at our Kazakhstan cement plant where we are anticipating the commencement of sales after lockdown measures are eased."

Shares in International Cement closed at 1.8 cents on Thursday.