Sat, May 17, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Asia Cement Corp restarts production after Sichuan quake

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Asia Cement Corp (亞洲水泥), the nation's second-biggest maker of the construction material, restarted production at a plant in China's Sichuan Province after closing it because of the May 12 earthquake.

Shipments from the factory have resumed, Chou Wei-kun (周維崑), Asia Cement vice president, said by telephone yesterday. The company hasn’t estimated possible financial losses from the stoppage, Chou said.

The plant, which can produce 2 million tonnes of cement products a year, accounts for about one-sixth of Asia Cement’s capacity, Chou said.

“We’re sure the machines there are fine,” Chou said. “Full production can resume as soon as the market there returns to normal.”

Asia Cement restarted processing clinker into cement in the plant in Chengdu city on Wednesday and may resume clinker production there within two days, Chou said.

The Taipei-based company suspended all its operations in Sichuan on May 12, including those in four support units, for inspection and repairs.

Asia Cement fell 0.4 percent to NT$56.3 in Taipei. The benchmark Taiex Index rose 0.4 percent.

Separately, Asia Cement plans to use 22 percent of the funds raised in a Hong Kong share sale this month for acquisitions in China, Chou said. The company doesn’t have details for the intended purchases yet, he said.

The company’s mainland unit, Asia Cement (China) Holdings Corp (亞洲水泥中國控股), raised HK$1.86 billion (US$238 million) from a Hong Kong initial public offering, a statement Asia Cement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Thursday showed.

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