Italcementi’s first half turnover recovered by 2.1% to €2452m, but the running EBITDA declined by 15.4% to €372.1m. Trading profit fell by 24.2% to €158m, but a 60.6% reduction in financial charges to €26.5m helped to reduce the reduction in the pre-tax profit to just 1.8% to €134m. With a gain, rather than a loss, from discontinued operations, the net attributable profit jumped from €0.4m to €115m.
Net debt at the end of June was 8.2% lower than a year earlier at €2256.7m, giving a gearing of 46.5% compared with 48.3%, in spite of the re-consolidation of Calcestruzzi. Cement and clinker shipments in the period declined by 0.3% to 27.4Mt and underlying deliveries of aggregates were off by 5% to 19.87Mt, but underlying ready-mixed concrete volumes improved by 1.7% to 7.38Mm³.
The underlying Western European turnover improved by 3.5% to €1402.1m, but the EBITDA fell by 20.6% to €152.5m. Cement and clinker volumes improved by 3.2% to 9.98Mt, while underlying aggregates shipments were 4.8% lower at 18.19Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries, on the same basis, were 3.5% higher at 5.52Mm³.
Italian cement and clinker volume declined by 0.2%, having been ahead in the first quarter. Cement prices started to recover around the turn of the year.
The Middle East and Bulgaria generated an underlying turnover 12.3% lower at €556.1m, with the EBITDA falling by €14.7m to €185m. Egypt remains the largest contributor, but the political unrest early in the year and substantial additional cement capacity led to a 14.1% reduction in cement sales, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 18.3%.
Asian cement sales improved by 7.1% to 5.8Mt, with turnover rising by 23.1% to €262m and the EBITDA recovering by 55.7% to €53.1m. The Indian turnover rose by 41.8% to €116.7m and the EBITDA jumped 74.3% to €33.8m.
The North American turnover declined by 7.4% to €171.9m and the loss at the EBITDA level increased by 74.1% to €9.4m. Although, at last, cement shipments did show a modest advance of 1.6% to 1.8Mt, pricing suffered from severely competitive pressures and declined further.