Holcim's turnover for the first nine months rose by 5.0% to CHF16,568m (€11,834m). The Asia Pacific region represented 35.3% of group turnover, followed by Europe with 30.1% and Latin America with 15.2%. Then follow North America with 14.4% and Africa / Middle East with 5.0%. The operating EBITDA declined by 1.0% to CHF3,577m (€2,555m) in Swiss franc terms, but rose when measured in euros or US dollars. The trading profit declined by 6.8% to CHF2,178m (€1,558m) and the net attributable profit fell by 27.1% to CHF875m (€625m). Net debt at the end of September was 1.4% lower at CHF12,723m (€9,566m), giving a gearing level of 58.3% compared with 57.7% a year earlier. Capital investment in the period amounted to CHF1,084m (€774m) and the spending on acquisitions fell by 44.8% to CHF265m (€189m). The group cement capacity is 9.9Mt, or 5.0%, higher than a year ago at 208.4Mt. Cement shipments rose by 3.7% to 102.8Mt, which represents an underlying improvement of 2.2%. Sales of other binders rose by 24.0% to 3.1Mt.
The Asia Pacific turnover was helped by the initial full consolidation of the Australian activities and the turnover rose by 32.7% to CHF6,020m (€4,300m), but the underlying increase was a more modest 1.7% and the EBITDA advanced by 10.2% to CHF1,439m (€1,028m) but declined by 8.6% on a comparable basis. Cement deliveries increased by 6.6% to 53.2Mt. Cement deliveries grew by 30.9% in Sri Lanka and also registered double-digit growth in Bangladesh (+15.7%) and in Indonesia (+11.3%). As the works in Indonesia and the Philippines cut back on exports, Siam City Cement was able to step into the gap. In India, Ambuja Cements increased shipments by 7.4% to 15.1Mt, but at sister company ACC experienced a 3.4% decline to 15.6Mt. Between them, the two Indian companies accounted for 57.7% of the consolidated Asia Pacific cement shipments, or 30.7Mt, while Australia and New Zealand between them accounted for 3.6Mt, an underlying 4.8% reduction.
The European turnover declined by 9.3% to CHF5,136m (€3,669m) and the EBITDA fell by 17.4% to CHF8,555m (€611m). The European results were helped by a CHF75m (€54m) gain on the sale of emission rights compared with a CHF61m benefit a year earlier. Cement deliveries were down by 3.8% to 20.1Mt, but did recover by 2.5% in the third quarter. Cement production in Spain did increase because of higher exports, but domestic deliveries were down. Domestic cement volumes increased in Slovakia, France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, while drops exceeding 30% were recorded in Croatia and Bulgaria. Clinker production at the new Shurovo plant in the Moscow region has now started and the production cost per tonne being €20 lower that the plant it replaced.
In Latin America, turnover recovered by 2.4% to CHF2,587m (€1,848m), but the EBITDA was off by 6.8% to CHF762m (€544m). Cement shipments decreased by 6.8% to 16.8Mt. Holcim Apasco in Mexico, traditionally the biggest contributor, sold less cement but increased downstream volumes and should have its new Hermosillo works up and running by the end of the year. Holcim is performing strongly in Brazil and hopes to be able to announce the construction of a new plant early in the new year. Volumes at Minetti in Argentina are also strong, helped by some clinker exports. Holcim Colombia also sold more cement, but cement deliveries were lower in Chile and in Ecuador.
North American turnover was down by 6.7% to CHF2,449m (€1,749m) but the EBITDA recovered by 11.6% to CHF366m (€261m) thanks to a lower cost base and better and prices volumes in Canada. Cement shipments recovered by 1.2% to 8.4Mt. Considerable benefits are now being achieved from the new Ste. Genevieve riverside works in Missouri.
Turnover from Africa and the Middle East, finally, was 7.4% lower at CHF849m (€606m) but the EBITDA recovered by 2.5%, or by 11.5% on an underlying basis, to CHF286m (€204m), with cement deliveries being up by 3.0% to 6.8Mt. Domestic cement volumes rose by 9.8% in the Lebanon, which also increased exports to Northern Cyprus, and a more modest increase was seen in Morocco. In West Africa, cement volumes were stable, but in the Indian Ocean and in Qatar shipments declined somewhat.
Of Holcim's two Indian group companies, Ambuja Cements increased production by 8.4% to 16.90Mt for the first ten months of the year and deliveries rose by 8.7% to 16.88Mt. In the case of ACC, cement deliveries were 1.7% lower at 17.51Mt, while production was 1.6% lower at 17.55Mt. Holcim Ecuador is increasing capacity from 3.5Mt per annum to 5.4Mt per annum. The capacity expansion is principally taking place at the Guayaquil works, where a new mill is being installed. The expansion should be completed by the end of 2011.