Cimpor's first-half turnover improved by 5.7% to €1149.58m and the EBITDA rose by the same percentage to €315.6m. As depreciation and impairment charges only increased by 1.6%, the trading profit (EBIT) rose by 8.2% to €198.6m. A further 38.7% reduction in financial charges led to a 16.5% advance in the pre-tax profit to €181.8m. A reduction in the tax charge from 34% to 23.9% meant that the net attributable profit advanced by 34% to €132.2m. The net debt at the end of June was 6.9% lower at €1600.5m, giving a gearing level down from 79.5% to 77.6%. Capital expenditure in the period increased by 10.4% to €86.4m, with Brazil accounting the largest share of the expenditure, followed by Mozambique. Expenditure on other investments was 46.3% higher at €16.4m.

Consolidated cement deliveries were 0.7% lower at 13.82Mt, with higher production levels in China, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa offsetting significant reductions in Portugal, Egypt and Spain. Group aggregates shipments rose by 21.4% to 6.98Mt, helped by strong growth in Brazil and Turkey, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 6.8% to 3.37Mm³.

The Portuguese turnover declined by 10.7% to €199.9m and the EBITDA was off by 12% to €59.5m. Cement and clinker sales fell by 21.4% to 1.92Mt, with clinker sales to Egypt disappearing but cement sales to Brazil grew. Some gains were realised from selling emission permits, but the domestic cement market contracted by some 9%. The reduction in Spanish cement deliveries was 15% to 1.25Mt and was made worse by declining exports, though prices did improve by about 3% and additional profits came from selling emission permits. The turnover declined by 9.4% to €127.5m, but the EBITDA recovered by 18.3% to €18.1m.

Brazil is the largest cement producer in the group by some margin, accounting for one-fifth of the group volume in the first half. In that period, the Brazilian turnover advanced by 24.5% to €341.6m, and the EBITDA improved by 19.5% to €106.8m. Cement volumes from the eight works rose by 9.9% to 2.77Mt and prices increased by 7% in the period. The production capacity is being expanded to take advantage of the growth potential of the market. The contributions from aggregates and concrete are also increased.

Egyptian cement shipments dropped by 19.5% to 1.67Mt and prices suffered from reduced demand and increased industry capacity. Turnover fell by 28.8% to €91.3m and the EBITDA dropped by 33.3% to €31m. The reduction in margins, however, was limited to 2.3 percentage points to 34%, suggesting a further downside risk unless demand begins to recover. In Morocco, cement deliveries improved by 1.8% to 0.62Mt and concrete deliveries rose by 11.1%, with the turnover increasing by 3.5% to €51.6m though the EBITDA declined by 11.4% to €19.2m because of higher energy costs. Tunisian turnover improved by 6.7% to €44.2m and the EBITDA was 1.9% higher at €12.5m. Cement volumes, however, eased by 1.7% to 0.93Mt. Turkey performed strongly with turnover rising by 24.3% to €81.6m and the EBITDA jumping by 65.7% to €13.4m. Cement and clinker volume rose by 12.2% to 1.45Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries jumped up by 38.7%.

In China, cement deliveries rose by 16.6% to 1.92Mt and prices staged a good recovery, leading to a 71.9% increase in turnover to €63.5m and at the EBITDA went from a €2.7m loss to a profit of €14.1m, in spite of higher energy costs. In India, increased competition gave rise to a 1.7% volume decline to 0.5Mt though the turnover did improve by 4.9% to €28.8m, but the EBITDA came off by 9.7% to €4.3m and competitive pressures increased because of additional capacity having come on-stream.

South African volumes were boosted by increased exports, but domestic deliveries were also up a bit and the tonnage rose by 9.2% to 0.61Mt. Turnover improved by 3.5% to €73.3m but the EBITDA came off by 5.9% to €27.8m. The Mozambique cement volume was just 0.6% higher at 0.42Mt, while turnover improved by 9.3% to €47.5m, but the EBITDA fell by 23.0% to €5.1m as product had to be imported during the up-grading the Matola works. Cape Verde Islands volumes eased by 4.3% to 0.12Mt, but the turnover improved by 7.6% to €17.5m and the EBITDA advanced by 20.5% to €2.5m.