Corobrik: low level activity to continue into 2011

South African Brick manufacturer Corobrik believes that current low levels of activity in the market will continue for the first half of 2011.

"There is every indication that we are at the bottom of the trough and that the current low level of activity will continue for the first half of 2011.

"The upturn will be determined by the return of confidence, interest rates continuing to remain low and, in the case of residential segments, the financial institutions relaxing their lending criteria for home buyers," said Corobrik MD Dirk Meyer.

He said that following a promising start to the 2010 calendar year, bolstered by the activity around completing World Cup infrastructure projects, there was little in the pipeline to sustain volumes.

"The highlight for Corobrik during 2010 has been the extensive specification and use of clay paver products for the major inner city redevelopment programmes, beachfront promenade upgrades and as used around the major stadia in Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth," Meyer said.

However, coming off this high, the group said that the challenge in the second half of the calendar year had been to manage costs, increase competitiveness and market share in a shrinking market.

"In the prevailing market, we have focused investment in plant and equipment able to enhance manufacturing flexibility, to provide products more tuned to the affordable housing market that has remained relatively buoyant.

"In the paving market clay pavers are continuing to gain market share, having developed as a material of choice for enhancing hard landscape environments.

"Expanding our paver range with new shapes and textures is set to add impetus to that growth," Meyer said.

Corobrik said it had benefited from the introduction of new extrusion technology, resulting in fuel savings for the drying and firing of products, this in the order of 20%.

"This technology innovation and the wider use of natural gas for the firing our products, (natural gas nearly halves the carbon footprint of clay brick manufacture), is driving Corobrik's embodied energy reductions in line with international best practice," Meyer said.

Source: I-Net Bridge