Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s biggest producer of the building material, said first quarter revenue was boosted by a surge in sales from Nigeria, its home market.

Revenue for the first quarter through March increased 3.8% to 249.2 billion naira ($647 million) while net income was little-changed at 60.6 billion naira from 60.3 billion naira, it said in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Sales from Nigeria rose 5.6% to 179.3 billion naira.

The year started strongly with growth across the board, record sales in Nigeria and good profit margins in the company’s Pan-African operations despite the early effect of the coronavirus pandemic, Michel Puchercos, group chief executive officer said.

Most economies on the continent including Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal where Dangote has operations have been hampered by movement restrictions to contain covid-19, which coincided with a fall in crude prices that hurt commodity dependent countries. The lockdown in South Africa affected Dangote Cement’s sales in the continent at the end of March, the company said.

The Lagos-based company, controlled by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has seen lower sales volumes in April compared to a year ago owing to the impact of the virus. It is assessing the impact of the virus on its operations while it plans to start exporting clinker to West and Central Africa to boost sales, it said.

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