Buzzi Unicem

Buzzi Unicem's first-quarter turnover recovered by 23.9% to €569.40m and the EBITDA more than trebled to €42.70m. The loss at the trading level was reduced by 54.7% to €18.23m. Net financial costs came down by 16.4% to €28.02m, leading to a 37.1% reduction in the seasonal pre-tax loss to €46.73m. Net debt at the end of March was 2.2% higher at €1294.3m, giving a gearing level of 56.5%. Capital investment was 58.3% lower at €37.7m and included €15.3m spent on expansion projects in Russia, Ukraine and Mexico. Cement shipments were helped by a milder winter and rose by 27% to 5.6m, while group ready-mixed concrete deliveries advanced by 27.2% to 3.3Mm³. Kiln fuel costs rose in all markets, but electricity costs did decline in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and the USA, but rose in Ukraine and Russia.

In Italy, turnover declined by 3.3% to €131.7m while the EBITDA dropped from €6.5m to just €0.2m, with the proceeds from the sale of emission rights declining from €7.6m to €6.4m. Cement and clinker volumes improved by 6.3%, thanks to higher cement exports and clinker sales, but average selling prices were down by 12.3% in a fiercely competitive market, in spite of notably higher kiln fuel and electricity costs.

German cement volumes were boosted by the milder weather and cement deliveries jumped by 55.7% to 1.13Mt, though average selling prices were 3.3% lower. Proceeds from the sale of emission rights increased by €0.6m to €3.1m and the turnover rose by 59.8% to €130.9 and the EBITDA result went from a €1.8m loss to a €13.9m profit. In the Luxembourg subsidiary, cement and clinker volumes jumped by 75.3% to 0.32Mt helped by increased exports, but prices declined by 1.8%. Turnover improved by 83.4% to €27.9m and the EBITDA was boosted by sales of emission rights and a property. The Dutch turnover was boosted by strong downstream volumes.

In Eastern Europe, turnover rose by 44.5% to €86.4m, but the EBITDA was €0.1m lower at  €2.4m. In Poland, cement deliveries rose by 38.9% to 0.18Mt, in Czech Republic they doubled to 0.16Mt, in Ukraine they climbed by 88.6% to 0.23Mt and in Russia by 42.1% to 0.41Mt. Average selling prices declined in all countries, though in Poland the reduction was only a marginal 1.5% and higher-than-expected start-up costs had to be borne at the dry-process production line at Suchoi-Log in Russia.

In the United States, first-quarter cement shipments increased by 12.2%, but average prices declined by 7.9%. The higher cement volumes reflected more favourable weather rather than any improvement in underlying demand. The turnover improved by 7.9% to €113.7m, while higher fuel costs and a less favourable mix resulted in an increased loss at the EBITDA level of €9.1m.

The Mexican associate Corporación Moctezuma increased turnover by 29.1% to €58.7m, helped by exchange rate movements as the peso appreciated by 6.7% against the euro, and the EBITDA improved by 31.9% to €22.4m. In local currency, prices improved by 4.1%, and cement volumes rose by 17.5%, helped by the initial production from the new cement works at Apazapan in the state of Veracruz. The commissioning of the Apazapan works has gone smoothly.