A steep escalation in input costs saw ACC, the leading cement manufacturer, report a drop of 11 per cent in its consolidated net profit for the first quarter ended March 2011 at Rs.350.17 crore against Rs.392.88 crore in the year-ago period.

This is despite an improvement in volumes at 6.16 million tonnes (5.58 million tonnes) during the quarter.

The turnover was up at Rs.2,556.21 crore against Rs.2,240.33 crore while the profit before tax was lower at Rs.481.21 crore against Rs.563.58 crore.

According to a company statement, while its operations benefited from better volumes, realisations remained challenged by steep escalations in input costs.

Manufacturing costs rose sharply due to rise in the cost of energy, fuel and raw materials like fly ash and slag. Coal became dearer in the domestic and international markets and transport costs too rose and as a consequence, the profit before tax and the net profit declined.

The company said it continued to maintain a healthy outlook for overall demand growth.

During the quarter, the company commissioned 7,000 tonnes a day capacity at its Chanda (Maharashtra) unit.

On a standalone basis, the company reported a lower net profit of Rs.350.66 crore against Rs.405.12 crore on higher net sales of Rs.2,398.16 crore against Rs.2,101.81 crore.

The company commissioned 7,000 tonnes a day capacity at its Chanda (Maharashtra) unit