Italcementi's first half turnover declined by 5.1% to €2,455.1m and the running EBITDA by 12.6% to €434.5m. The trading profit fell by 16.8% to €197.9m and the net attributable profit virtually disappeared as it dropped by 99.3% from €55.1m to €0.4m, reflecting largely the very big minority in the Egyptian business, that is doing very well. Net debt at the end of June was 11.7% lower than a year earlier at €2,458.1m, giving a gearing of 48.3%. Cement and clinker shipments in the period declined by 1.1% to 27.5m tonnes, while deliveries of aggregates were down by 4.0% to 19.2m tonnes, but ready-mixed concrete volumes did increase by 1.8% to 5.7m m³.
Western European turnover declined by 9.1% to €1,247.7m and the EBITDA fell by 17.5% to €191.5m, while capital expenditure was reduced by 6.4% to €79.2m. Cement and clinker volumes were down by 5.1% to 9.7m tonnes, while consolidated aggregates shipments were 4.6% lower at 17.4m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 6.0% less at 2.9m m³. Italian cement and clinker volume was down by 3.3%, while weaker pricing saw the turnover fall by 16.6% to €357.7m and a €3.1m loss was incurred at the EBITDA level. France & Belgium performed rather better, with turnover off by just 3.1% to €771.2m and the EBITDA easing by 3.3% to €1167.5m. Domestic cement deliveries were off by 4.9% in France and by 3.6% in Belgium, with prices being slightly lower in France and stable in Belgium. Aggregates volumes decreased by 2.4% in France and by 5.3% in Belgium, with prices improving slightly in France but weakening in Belgium. Ready-mixed concrete prices were lower, with volumes being down by 4.4% in France and by 0.9% in Belgium. Spanish turnover fell by 19.0% to €93.1m and the EBITDA dropped by 22.7% to €18.1m. Domestic cement volumes fell by 22.1%, but thanks to exports, the overall tonnage was just 13.9% lower. Aggregates were 4.8% lower but ready-mixed concrete deliveries dropped by 25.4%. The smaller Greek business also saw volumes slip, with turnover down by 8.2% to €3 7.0m, but the EBITDA held steady at €9.0m.
Egypt presented a positive picture, with turnover up by 6.7% to €445.4m, but the EBITDA was 2.0% lower at €134.4m. Capacity constraints meant that clinker had to be bought in and cement volumes advanced by 3.7%. In ready-mixed concrete, deliveries were off by 2.0% and prices weakened notably. Moroccan turnover improved by 4.7% to €174.4m and the EBITDA was virtually unchanged at €66.6m. Thanks to the new Ait Baha works, cement deliveries improved by 5.9% and prices improved and market share was gained. Higher operating costs, however, had a negative effect, as did volume reductions of 6.8% in aggregates and of 9.5% in ready-mixed concrete. In the rest of the Black Sea and Middle Eastern markets, turnover fell by 17.9% to €120.5m and the EBITDA dropped by one third to €10.0m. Bulgaria was the prime negative factor, with cement and clinker volumes dropping by 46.7% and prices weakened. Turkey, on the other hand, showed a recovery with cement volumes rising by 4.2% in the domestic market and by 7.0% when exports are included. Turkish ready-mixed concrete volumes jumped by 29.2% but prices were under pressure in both cement and concrete. In Kuwait, volumes improved by 9.4% in cement and by 6.8% in ready-mixed concrete.
The Asian turnover improved by 0.6% to €212.8m, but the EBITDA dropped by 35.1% on the back of reduced profitability in India and Thailand. The Indian EBITDA dropped by 51.1% to €19.4m as a result of very competitive pricing in Southern India, but cement and clinker volume did improve by 3.5%. The Indian turnover declined by 13.6% to €82.3m. The Thai turnover, on the other hand, recovered by 8.9% to €86.0m but the EBITDA fell by 19.8% to €7.3m. Domestic deliveries rose by 7.5% and exports were very marginally ahead, but fierce price competition in the domestic market hit profits. The Chinese cement volumes rose by 17.5% and profitability improved, in spite of lower selling prices as costs came down. In Kazakhstan cement volumes rose by 18.7%, and including clinker sales the increase was even stronger at 24.7%, leading to a marked improvement in profitability.
North American turnover declined by 2.1% to €185.7m, but the EBITDA loss was reduced from €10.3m to €5.4m, largely thanks to the reduced costs of the new Martinsburg cement plant. Cement shipments declined by a further 2.1% to 1.8m tonnes, while downstream volumes were ahead, helped by acquisitions. Average prices were down by some 7% in cement, but did improve in ready-mixed concrete. The international cement and clinker trading activities increased volumes by 17.8% to 2.1m tonnes and the turnover by 18.7% to €128.6m while the EBITDA more than doubled to €11.2m. This advance primarily reflects increased inter-group trading, notably clinker supplies to Egypt.