HeidelbergCement reported increases in first quarter turnover and results as a mild winter and stronger than expected economic recovery lead to growth in sales volumes.
In North America, demand for building materials increased only slightly in comparison with the previous year, as a result of a hard winter in Canada. The markets in Asia and Africa continued to develop positively, exhibiting consistently strong growth rates overall. The Group’s cement and clinker sales volumes rose by 14.4% to 17.3Mt (previous year: 15.2). The Western and Northern Europe, Eastern Europe-Central Asia and Africa-Mediterranean Basin Group areas reported double-digit growth rates. In Asia, demand continued to develop strongly, particularly in Indonesia. Cement sales volumes in North America recovered slightly. Deliveries of aggregates across the Group amounted to 46.3Mt (previous year: 40.3), an increase of 14.9%.
On the basis of the strong increases in sales volumes, Group turnover rose considerably in the first quarter, by 19.4%, to EUR 2,602m (previous year: 2,180). All Group areas, with the exception of North America, recorded double-digit growth rates. Positive exchange rate effects favoured the development of turnover in Western and Northern Europe and Asia-Pacific. Excluding exchange rate and consolidation effects, turnover increased by 14.3%. Operating income before depreciation (OIBD) rose by 47.5% to EUR 253m (previous year: 171). Operating income improved to EUR 60m (previous year: -18).
"The considerable growth in sales volumes in the first quarter was the result of a better than expected economic recovery as well as a significantly milder winter in our European markets," Chief Executive Bernd Scheifele said. He added, however, that he still anticipates a slow recovery in mature markets, rising input costs and that the group’s focus would therefore remain on debt reduction.