India's UltraTech Cement Q4 profit falls over 32% on higher energy costs

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FILE PHOTO: A man cleans an Expert Testing Van of UltraTech Cement outside a cement store in Ahmedabad

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's top cement maker UltraTech Cement Ltd reported a 32.3% fall in fourth-quarter profit on Friday, missing analysts' expectations, dented by a surge in power and fuel expenses.

Profit for the three months ended March 31 came in at 16.66 billion rupees ($203.77 million) against 24.61 billion rupees a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected the company to report a profit of 17.13 billion rupees for the latest quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Revenue from operations rose 18.4% to 186.62 billion rupees, but that growth was more than offset by a 19.8% jump in total expenses.

Power and fuel expenses soared 33.8% from a year ago, while raw material costs surged due to an increase in the cost of fly ash, slag and gypsum, the cement maker said.

While UltraTech's consolidated sales volume for the quarter rose 14% year on year, cement prices remained muted through the quarter, analysts had said.

Competition in the domestic cement industry has heated up as UltraTech and the sector's newest entrant Adani Group are racing to ramp up capacities.

UltraTech's expansion program is progressing as scheduled and commercial production from its new capacities is expected to go on stream in a phased manner by 2025 or 2026 financial year, it said in a statement.

Rival ACC Ltd reported a 39.5% slump in the fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, while Dalmia Bharat Ltd saw profit more than doubling on a pickup in demand.

UltraTech shares closed 0.74% higher on Friday and are up 8.6% year to date.

($1 = 81.7570 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman and Eileen Soreng)