HeidelbergCement's first-quarter turnover advanced by 19.4% to 2602.2m and the EBITDA moved ahead by 47.6% to 253m. The trading result swung back into a 60.1m profit after a 18.2m loss last year. The net interest charge declined by 14% to 124.3m and the pre-tax loss was reduced by 60.3% to 86.5m and the net attributable loss was reduced by 19.2% to 160.7m. Capital investment was increased by 24.8% to 152.9m, while spending on acquisitions was reduced by 34.2% to 2.5m. Future capital spending this year notably includes new integrated works in Russia and India and grinding centres in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and in Africa. Net debt increased by 6% to 8634m to give a gearing level of 71%.


Group cement and clinker shipments rebounded by 14.4% to 17.3Mt. International trading volumes declined by 9.8% to 2.1Mt as cement and clinker sales to North Africa fell back by more than could be compensated for elsewhere. Total trading activity, which also includes fuel, was stable at 143m, but the sale of cementitious products to Libya fell in response to the political situation there. Supplies of aggregates rose by 14.9% to 46.3Mt, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries were ahead by 20.6% to 8.4Mm³ and the asphalt volume increased by 16.7% to 1.6Mt.


In Western & Northern Europe, turnover rose by 32.7% to 647m and the EBITDA jumped from 8m to 79m. Turnover in cement improved by 31.2% to 389m and the EBITDA margin jumped from 3.3% to 12.9%. Cement and clinker deliveries rose by 31.3% to 4.74Mt. The strongest increases were seen in Germany and Denmark while sales of ground-granulated slag in Great Britain rebounded. Export shipments of cement and clinker also increased.


Eastern Europe & Central Asia saw sales advance by 34% to 187m and the EBITDA loss was reduced from 7m to 2m. Cement turnover rose by 32.3% to 143m and the EBITDA margin recovered from 1.2% to 2.4% as cement deliveries rose by 29.9% to 2.28Mt. The new kiln at Gorazdze in Poland was commissioned in late March and cement volumes are ahead in all countries other than Hungary and Bosnia-Hercegovina, with Russia more than doubling. There should be further Russian volume increases later this year as the new works at Tula is about to be commissioned.


The Asia-Pacific turnover rose by 15.5% to 656m but the EBITDA was barely stable, easing by 0.1% to 161m. In cement, turnover was up by 12.1% to 386m, but the EBITDA margin declined from 36.6% to 32.2% as a quarry accident at a joint venture in China led to additional costs and clinker purchases. Cement and clinker shipments were 3.2% higher at 6.29Mt. Volumes in Bangladesh have continued to increase and a new 0.8Mta cement mill should be commissioned towards the end of this year. Indian kiln and grinding capacities are being increased by 2.9Mt this year, while in Indonesia the next capacity increase will early come 2013 with an additional 2Mt of grinding capacity. In aggregates, where Australia plays a big part, turnover improved by 30.6% to 1181m on volumes that were 22% higher at 8.89Mt.


North American turnover improved by 5.2% to 523m and the EBITDA loss was narrowed by 12% to 11m. The cement turnover was up by 0.8% to 159m, with the volume being 2.7% higher at 1.86Mt, but the EBITDA margin narrowed from 15.7% to 7.7% as difficult weather conditions hampered construction activity.


In Africa and the Mediterranean rim, turnover improved by 15.8% to 250m and the EBITDA by 13.1% to 42m. Group cement sales rose by 19.3% to 179m as the volume improved by 13.9% to 2.24Mt. Cement shipments in Africa grew by 20.3% thanks to strong performances in Ghana, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Benin and Tanzania and the initial contribution from Congo. New capacity is being built in Liberia and in Congo. The Akçansa joint venture in Turkey increased domestic deliveries by more than 20% and cement exports were also increased, but clinker exports were reduced. Altogether Akçansa's cementitious output was 2% higher.