Thai conglomerate Siam Cement Group Pcl (SCG) reported a modest revenue increase for 2022 that was overshadowed by a dramatic slump in profit, with Cambodia remaining a key ASEAN market, amid widespread construction slowdown and financial instability risks among populations.

In a financial report released on February 6, SCG put revenue and profit for its financial year ended December 31 at 66.423 trillion riel and 2.486 trillion riel, respectively, converted to $16.244 billion and $610 million, up seven per cent and down 55 per cent over 2021.

Without specifying which particular measure (gross, operating, net) it was referring to, the company blamed the drop in “profit” on “economic slowdown, petrochemical trough and rising energy costs”.

“Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter, profit for the period stood at 18 billion riel – $4 million,” it noted.

Speaking in the report, SCG president and CEO Roongrote Rangsiyopash pinned the company’s woes on “multiple crises stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, rapidly soaring coal and electricity prices, inflation, Thai baht fluctuation, China’s economic slowdown, and the largest petrochemical trough in 20 years.

“On the other hand, [SCG] has closely monitored the situation and quickly adjusted to lessen its impact on the company as a whole by putting an emphasis on maintaining financial stability, cutting costs by utilising renewable energy sources and digital technology in the production, and prudently strategising its investment decisions. The result was a healthy cash balance of 11.047 trillion riel – $2.709 billion.

“In the meantime, recent challenges have also generated new business opportunities, particularly the demand for green products, which are a major global trend and are constantly growing, such as renewable energy, green polymer, energy-saving solutions ,and sustainable packaging,” he said.

The report added that “for SCG’s operation[s] in ASEAN, [excluding Thailand], revenue from sales in the fourth quarter recorded a 15 per cent decrease year-on-year, amounting to 2.688 trillion riel, or $651 million, and 19 per cent of SCG’s total revenue from sales. This includes sales from both local operations in each ASEAN market and imports from the Thai operations”.

Roongrote mentioned that SCG recently celebrated three decades of “fruitful” and “sustainable” business efforts in Cambodia and vowed that the company would continue to do its part to promote economic development and the wellbeing of Cambodians.

“SCG continues to prioritise maintaining financial stability and liquidity with prudent strategic investments, tightening the purse strings, and reducing energy costs.

“Simultaneously, it will accelerate business progress to satisfy new needs, invest in innovations, seize economic recovery opportunities, develop solutions to support global megatrends, and strengthen the business. The regional market has begun to recover and is projected to expand further.

“Furthermore, SCG is prepared to assist in the strengthening of society. It created jobs for 9,000 individuals impacted by the economic crisis in 2022 to provide them with income and lessen social inequality,” he said.

At present, Cambodia’s five cement factories – one in Battambang province and four in Kampot – have a combined annual production capacity of about nine million tonnes, representing roughly three-quarters of the estimated total domestic demand of 12 million tonnes.

These are Battambang Conch Cement Co Ltd (Conch), Kampot Cement Co Ltd (SCG-K CEM), Chip Mong Insee Cement Corp (CMIC), Cambodia Cement Chakrey Ting Factory Co Ltd (Huaxin) and Thai Boon Roong Cement Co Ltd.

Cambodian “iron and steel” imports last year clocked in at $359.819 million, rising by 23.08 per cent year-on-year from $292.339 million, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

This category of items, corresponding to Chapter 72 of the harmonised tariff schedule, accounted for 1.202 per cent of the $29.942 billion value of the Kingdom’s total imports over the year, GDCE statistics show.

The GDCE did not reveal any tonnage figures. To clarify, these imports do not include “articles of iron or steel”, which instead fall under Chapter 73 of the tariff schedule.