KARACHI - The export of cement increased by 43 percent to 2.390m tons in first quarter (from July to September) of current FY09 over 1.677m tons of corresponding period of last fiscal 2007-08. All Pakistan Cement Association Pakistan (APCMA) has released the latest dispatches data of first quarter (from July-September) of current FY09 on Tuesday. The export of cement continued to show positive momentum, as export figures inflated by over 43 percent in said period, analysts said, adding that at the same time cement companies continue to benefit from exporting cement and clinker to the neighbouring countries and Middle East region. The cement dispatches for first quarter of current financial year 2008-09 declined by 3.10 percent to 7.16m tons over 7.392m tons of corresponding period of last FY08. According to data of APCMA, the local dispatches of cement in Quarter of current FY09 declined by 16 percent to 4.772m tons against 5.715m tons of same period of last FY08. Elaborating the market share of companies, analysts said the Lucky Cement continues to be the market leader in terms of dispatches made and currently it has 17.06 percent of the market share followed by D.G. Khan Cement and Bestway Cement having 12.93 percent and 12.59 percent respectively. The success factor behind Lucky's growth remains their rising exports of loose cement to India and other regional markets, while Pioneer cement continues to benefit from exporting clinker to the Middle East. DGKC on the other hand remains more focused in catering to the domestic market and continues to have the highest market share of the domestic market. Depicting the future outlook of industry analysts said the current economic scenario coupled with persistent increase in cost of sales witnessed by the cement manufacturers while it can be said that financial performance of the cement sector will remain depressed in FY09. In FY08 profitability of the sector plunged by over 62pc when compared to FY07 (taking a sample of 14 listed companies). It would not be surprising if the trend persists during the current fiscal year, especially with domestic volumetric sales showing a downward trajectory, analysts commented and adding, at the same time gas load-shedding in the coming days will also add to the woes of the cement manufacturers.