Buzzi Unicem’s turnover for the first nine months improved 5.5% to €2,109.4m but the EBITDA advanced by just 1.1% to €330m, as the Italian cement major sees volumes decline in Italy and the USA but rise everywhere else.
The trading profit, however, emerged 0.9% lower at €153.5m and net financial charges were 5.5% lower at €68.2m to give a pre-tax profit of €87.5m, a reduction of just 0.3%. After a much higher, but more normal, tax charge and a 6.7% increase in the minorities charge to €22m, the net attributable profit fell by 35.3% to €38.6m.
Cement deliveries were 7.3% higher at 21.5Mt, with lower volumes being experienced in Italy and modestly also in the Unites States.
Italian turnover declined by 8.4% to €429.5m, while the EBITDA fell by 79.5% to €8.3m, after a 54% reduction in the contribution from the sale of emission rights from €29.5m to €13.5m. The underlying sales margin dropped from 8.6% to 1.9%. Shipments of cement and clinker fell 9.4%, but cement prices started to recover and were 4% higher than during the corresponding period last year. However, higher energy prices had to be absorbed depressing margins.
German turnover rose 17.9% to €486.6m and the EBITDA improved by 22% to €78.4m, in spite of the contribution from the sale of emission rights being €0.8m lower at €3.9m. Cement volumes rose by 13.4% to 4.15Mt, but average prices were off by 1.5%.
Eastern European turnover rose 21.6% to €456.1m and EBITDA advanced 37.7% to €112.5m. Polish turnover improved by 10.9% to €112m and the EBITDA was ahead some 7% to €32m as cement deliveries advanced 3.8% to 1.25Mt and ready-mixed concrete advanced by 18.1% to 0.74Mm³. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the cement price achieved was down by 12.7% because of higher exports to Poland, but deliveries rose by 31.1% to 0.74Mt. Ukrainian cement sales rose by 25.1% to 1.44Mt and ready-mixed concrete volumes by 24.5%, with turnover improving by 34.4% to €821m and the EBITDA returning to positive territory with an €8m profit thanks to the switch to coal firing in stead of gas and a 13.9% increase in the average cement price. In Russia, Suchoi Log’s cement shipments jumped by 40.4% to 1.9Mt while prices were up by 3.4%, with the turnover rising by 43.6% to €135m and the EBITDA by some 43%.
In the United States, turnover declined by 8.0% to €416.0m while the EBITDA fell by 41.3% to €40.7m, not helped by a weakening dollar. Cement deliveries off by just 0.7%. Profitability was hurt by higher energy and transportation costs, but also by the rise in average costs caused by lower capacity utilisation. Until demand picks up, the low capacity utilisation will continue to have a negative effect on profitability.
The 50%-owned Mexican associate Corporaciòn Moctezuma increased cement shipments by 14.7%, helped by the new Apazapan works and the average selling price in local currency was 2.9% higher. In spite of a drop in value of the Mexican peso against the euro, the turnover improved by 13.7% to €176.9m and the EBITDA was 3.7% higher at €61.9m.