RAMON S. ANG’s Eagle Cement Corp. has earmarked P1.5 billion for the construction of its new cement mill in its Bulacan manufacturing plant.

In a statement on Tuesday, the listed cement producer said the fifth cement mill of its San Ildefonso plant will augment the company’s total annual output by 1.5 million metric tons (MT) of cement to 8.6 million MT by yearend.

Last week at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting, Eagle Cement President and Chief Executive Officer John Paul L. Ang said the company aims to finish the construction of the mill facility by the last quarter of 2020 from the supposed commissioning schedule in the second quarter.

While the company is cutting down its budget for non-critical projects and activities given the economic slowdown, its expansion spending remains untouched.

“Our strong financial position will allow us to weather this health crisis battering the economy without giving up major components of our expansion plans,” Mr. Ang said.

The company noted its current gearing at 0.30x debt-to-equity ratio provided it with the flexibility to fulfill investment plans.

Eagle Cement has “ramped up” production since it resumed operation in June to support the government’s push for accomplishing “critical” infrastructure projects.

“Eagle is fully prepared to supply the steadily increasing demand for cement as more and more construction projects both in the public and private sectors open up,” Mr. Ang added.

The company president is optimistic that construction activities will “rebound” by the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, the cement producer said it had teamed up with an undisclosed international provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP), which will aid the company to further digitalize its operations by putting up an online customer portal.

The future ERP system via an online platform will feature booking, tracking and the arrival of cement orders.

Eagle Cement’s shares inched up 0.51% to close at P9.90 each on Tuesday. — Adam J. Ang