(Prague,Czech Republic) — Cement plants in the Czech Republic produced 390,434 tonnes of cement in the first quarter of this year, 28 percent less than a year earlier, CTK has learned from the Association of Cement Producers statistics.
Jan Hrozek, board chairman of the company Ceskomoravsky cement, sees the combination of the economic crisis and unfavourable weather as the main reasons for the fall.
“Lower demand for construction work, difficult access to bank loans, investors’ cautiousness in all construction sectors and extremely unfavourable climate conditions were paralysing cement consumption,” Hrozek told CTK.
Tougher start of the winter, moreover, affected ground work where cement is used as part of concrete.
Cement sales on the domestic market sank by 32 percent to 334,571 tonnes. Exports of Czech cement plants decreased by 35 percent to 47,203 tonnes of cement in Q1. Cement producers do not expect further fall in output.
“Cement production and sales will be stagnating in the first half of the year 2010 or longer and we expect stabilisation in the second half of the year. We believe that economic recovery will start to be felt very slowly,” he added.
Growth in cement consumption will depend in partciclar on state support in the form of legislative measures to cut the time for preparations of projects and on the system of state infrastructure financing, Hrozek noted, adding that demand for housing and commercial real estate will also be important, as will accessibility of loans.
Infrastructure projects will be directly tied to the drawing of money from EU structural funds, he said.
Among the largest cement producers in the Czech Republic are Ceskomoravsky cement, Holcim, Lafarge Cement and Cement Hranice.