Vicat’s first half turnover rose by 16.4% to €1,146.2m, which represents a 10.7% increase on a comparative basis. The EBITDA advanced by 9.2% to €253.3, but the margin narrowed from 23.6% to 22.1%.
The trading profit improved by 11% to €164.8m, while the pre-tax profit was up by 4.4% to €142.8m, but the net attributable profit declined by 3.9% to €90.9m in the light of a 96.3% increase in the tax charge to 24.1% as more income was derived from higher rate countries such as France and India and a lower contribution from Egypt.
Capital spending in period was 0.4% lower at €138.3m, with capital expenditure being 8.2% lower at €122.1m but spending on acquisitions almost trebled to €16.2m as the stake in the Kazakh cement subsidiary was raised to 84.1%. The net debt was increased by 12.4% to €1,155.7m, giving a gearing of 48.5%.
Cement deliveries rose by 16.6% to 9.05Mt and the share of turnover from cement increased from 52% to 53.1%, with the cement turnover increasing by 15.7% to €699m.
In France, turnover improved by 17.8% to €489m and the EBITDA recovered by 22.0% to €106m. The cement turnover rose by 14.1% as volumes rose by almost 11% and export prices were notably improved, but domestic prices were marginally lower, though the product mix was more favourable.
In the rest of Europe, turnover rose by 29.2% to €189m and the EBITDA improved by 14.7% to €47m, helped by the strength of the Swiss currency. Swiss cement volumes rose by 8.2% and downstream volumes also advanced, with aggregates prices being ahead, but concrete prices were slightly lower because of a less favourable mix. In Italy, turnover rose by 9.3% thanks to a 19% increase in volumes.
The US turnover came off by a further 9.5% to €77m and the EBITDA loss increased by 41.8% to €6m, but the trading loss was just 2.5% worse at €21m. The turnover in cement declined by an underlying 13.1%, with volumes falling by 4.5%, with a greater decline in Alabama than in California, not helped by adverse weather conditions in the second quarter.
Turnover in Turkey improved by an underlying 9.0% to €94m. Cement volumes improved by some 4% and average prices did improve in what remains a very competitive market. The EBITDA showed a good increase, with margin rising from 14.7% to 24.2%, helped by the second production line coming on stream. The joint venture Vicat Sagar Cement will start contributing next year. The new cement works in Kazakhstan commenced cement deliveries on the 1 April and sold 0.13Mt in the period, generating a turnover of almost €7m.
The African and Middle Eastern eased by 1.1% to €229m, though ahead by 3.8% in local currency and the EBITDA fell by 17.4% to €78m. In Egypt, the turnover fell by 13.9% in local currency, with volumes being off by 6.4% and the political situation also having a negative effect on prices. In West Africa, turnover rose by 19.2% as cement shipments rose by almost 21%. The average price, however, was lower, reflecting a strong increase in exports.