Saudi Cement's profit rises

Saudi Cement Company, Saudi Arabia's largest cement maker, said first-quarter income rose 2.7% on higher sales, although the growth in profit is one of the industry's lowest.

Saudi Cement Company, Saudi Arabia's largest cement maker, said first-quarter income rose 2.7% on higher sales, although the growth in profit is one of the industry's lowest.

Saudi Cement made a net profit of US $46.2 million (SAR173.3 million) in the first quarter of this year, up from $45.1 million in same period the previous year, the company said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website.

Saudi Cement is both the industry's largest by market value and by production, which stood at 5.3 million tonnes in 2007, according to the company's annual report.

Around 22% of the firm's production was exported in 2007.

In contrast, Yamamah Cement, the third largest cement firm by market value and the second largest by production, made a first quarter net profit of $52.7 million, up 14% from the same period last year.

Demand for cement is surging in Saudi Arabia, where the economy is benefiting from an exponential surge in oil prices during the last six years.

Companies in Saudi Arabia are developing or have announced projects in oil, gas and industries worth more than $460 billion.

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