HeidelbergCement's nine-month turnover improved by 8.4% to €9619.7m while the EBITDA advanced more modestly by 2.5% to €1682m as energy costs rose. At the trading level, the profit was ahead by 1.6% to €1063.4m and, after an interest charge 5% lower at €408.4m, the pre-tax profit rose by 36.8% to €635.4m. Reflecting a substantially higher tax charge, the net attributable profit was up by a more modest 9.6% to €266.3m. The net debt at the end of September was 1.7% lower at €8499m and the gearing level was reduced further from 71.3% to 65.9%. Capital investment in the period was raised by 25.3% to €515.5m, but spending on acquisitions was reduced by 12.9% to €10.8m. Group cement and clinker shipments increased by 11.2% to 65.38Mt. Turnover from international trading activities declined by 13.2% to €469m and the EBITDA dropped by a further 41% to €9m. The trading volume of HC Trading fell by 11% to 6.6Mt as political events in North Africa reduced the cement demand there. Volumes did improve by 5.4% to 191.12Mt in aggregates and by 11.6% to 29.19Mm³ in ready-mixed concrete.
The northern and western European turnover improved by 12.3% to €2904m and the EBITDA advanced by 20.3% to €550m. Cement and clinker volumes rose by 11.2% to 16.69Mt, helped largely by strong volume growth early in the year and. Domestic deliveries showed the strongest advance in Germany, Sweden, Norway and the Baltic states and British deliveries of slag recovered. Exports of cement and clinker were increased from Germany, Belgium and Estonia. Deliveries of aggregates improved by 13.6% to 59.84Mt, while ready-mixed concrete shipments advanced by 16.6% to 10.40Mm³.
Turnover in eastern Europe and central Asia rose by 23.8% to €1070m, but the EBITDA was ahead by a more modest 14.3% to €246m. Cement and clinker deliveries advanced by 24% to 13.39Mt, helped by an increased sphere of consolidation in Russia. Volumes were also well ahead in Poland, Georgia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Additional clinker capacities were commissioned in Poland and in Russia during the period. Romania, Hungary and the Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the other hand, are presently weak markets. Aggregates deliveries were ahead by 7.4% to 16.03Mt, though declining in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 19.1% to 3.38Mm³.
North American turnover declined by 2.4% to €2261m and the EBITDA fell by 13.5% to €313m. North American cement shipments improved by 4.5% to 7.93Mt, with third-quarter volumes being particularly favourable, both in Canada and in the USA, with a 10% advance, though in the northeastern US shipments were below the prior year's level. Shipments of aggregates, however, eased by 0.8% to 79.47Mt, but ready-mixed concrete deliveries recovered by 5.5% to 4.34Mm³.
In the Asia-Pacific area, turnover improved by 11.2% to €2133m, but the EBITDA declined by 4.5% to €518m. Cement and clinker shipments were 5.7% higher at 20.7Mt. Indocement increased cement and clinker volume by 12.0%, in spite of lower export shipments and a further 2Mat of grinding capacity is now under construction at the Citeurop works for completion in 2013. The Chinese associates produced slightly less cement than in the comparable period last year. In spite of the slow start to the year, Indian volumes were 4.4% ahead by the end of September and Indian capacity should almost double to 6Mt in the first quarter of 2012. A new 0.8Mta grinding plant will be commissioned in Bangladesh this month. Aggregates shipments have risen by 14.5% to 27.79Mt, with particularly strong growth in Malaysia, Indonesia and China. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries grew by 10.2% to 7.21Mm³, with a more than doubling of volumes in Indonesia.
Africa and the Mediterranean increased turnover by 10.6% to €768m and the EBITDA advanced by 8.1% to €130m. Cement shipments improved by 12.5% to 6.91Mt. The Turkish joint venture Akçansa increased domestic deliveries by over 11% and prices rose, but export shipments fell because of unrest in North Africa and the total cement volume eased by 0.7%. African cement volumes rose by 20.3%, or by 12.1% at the underlying level, helped by growing demand in Ghana, Tanzania, Gabon, Sierra Leone and Benin. New capacities are currently under construction in Liberia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Congo and Tanzania. Aggregates volume increased by just 1.1% to 10.81Mt as deliveries fell in Spain and Turkey, but rose in Israel. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 3.3% to 3.86Mm³ and asphalt sales jumped by 34.6% to 0.39Mt. The continued deterioration in Spanish construction activity led to a doubled loss in the downstream activities there.