HeidelbergCement had its rights issue in September, raising €2,312.5m and, in combination with the €2,114.8m sale by Merckle interests and certain banks this resulted in the free float rising to 75.6% of the equity. Other disposals concluded to date amount to a further €404m, of which €220m came from the placing of 14.1% of Indocement with international institutional investors. The sale of two subsidiaries and a joint venture in Australia brought in close to €100m between them, with the remainder coming primarily from property disposals. The sale of the ready-mixed concrete, aggregates and asphalt business in Israel, that also came via Pioneer through Hanson, for around €120m has been agreed but is still awaiting monopolies clearance in Israel, which it is hoped will still be forthcoming before the end of the year.
In terms of new cement capacity, the only significant addition in 2009 has been the additional kiln line and accompanying grinding capacity near Dar-es-Salaam of some 0.6Mt. Some tweaking of capacity has also taken place elsewhere, notably as at the Beremend works in Hungary where around 0.3Mt of the annual capacity as been added and a new pre-heating system installed, taking the annual capacity up to 1.4Mt.
German cement consumption is forecast to decline by around 9% this year, but HeidelbergCement is doing rather better than the industry average. European cement prices have performed the best in Germany and Great Britain, even though the 32% British volume decline in the first nine months was surpassed only by the Ukraine with a 49% drop. Cement shipments have also declined by between 23% and 25% in Russia, Norway, Sweden and The Netherlands. Elsewhere, volume reductions have tended to be below 20%. In terms of volume, Poland is showing the lowest reduction and cement demand there is again on the rise now, with prices being stable in most of Eastern Europe and rising in Western Europe. The exceptions are the Ukraine, where prices have fallen, and in Russia, where they have dropped more sharply, though from an unsustainably high level.
Chinese volumes are well ahead, helped by the commissioning of two new cement works towards the end of 2008, with prices a little better in the north, but lower in the south. In Indonesia, which represents some 12.7% of group turnover in cement and is thus more important than the USA in terms of volume, volumes are now recovering on better prices. Turkey is though worst performing overseas market in Asia, with prices notably lower and domestic volumes down by around 30% to date, though exports have increased somewhat. In Africa, prices have been stable in Ghana, the group's largest market, though volumes are down by more than 15%, while in Tanzania volumes are sharply higher thanks to the additional capacity, but prices have fallen.
In the first nine months of 2009, HeidelbergCement's cement and clinker shipments declined by 13.5% to 59.2 Mt. Downstream, volumes fell by 21.9% to 178.7Mt in aggregates, by 22.5% to 26.1m m³ in ready-mixed concrete and by 8.8% to 7.6Mt in asphalt.