In spite of its Asian expansion, Vicat has managed to retain a strong solid balance sheet with a gearing of 38.6% at the end of December, compared with 31.4% a year earlier. The net debt of EUR998.3m compares with total shareholders’ funds of EUR2557.1m, of which the equity makes up EUR 2,141.0m and minorities EUR416.1m. Capital investment last year was 18.9% higher at €321.3m, with increased investments going into Kazakhstan and India and net spending on acquisitions jumped from some EUR 20m to EUR 220.5m as a result of the acquisition of Bharathi Cement in India. Turnover increased by 6.2% to EUR 2,013.7m and the EBITDA rose by 6.5% to EUR 504.3m. The trading profit was 4.7% higher at EUR 336.9m and with a net interest charge only 5.3% higher at EUR 25.3m, the pre-tax profit improved by 9.8% to EUR 308.8m and the net attributable profit emerged 5.9% higher at €202.7m.
In terms of activity split, turnover in cement increased by 8.4% to some EUR 1224m, with cement deliveries being 11.5% higher at 16.18Mt and the EBITDA rose by 13.4% to EUR 413m. The concrete and aggregates operations generated a turnover 3.9% higher at €752m but an EBITDA 24.6% lower at EUR62m, with volumes recovering by 11.2% in aggregates to 20.77Mt and by 8.8% to 7.75m m³ in ready-mixed concrete.
The French turnover declined by 1.5% to 832m and the EBITDA fell by 10.9% to EUR184m. In cement, volumes increased by 1.2%, but with unfavourable movements in both average prices and mix, margins suffered. In the rest of Europe, turnover did increase by 6.6% to EUR 318m and the EBITDA advanced by 7.9% to EUR 86m, all thanks to Switzerland.
In the United States turnover dropped by 10.0% to EUR168m, or by 14.3% in US dollar terms, and an EBITDA loss of EUR6m was incurred and the trading loss more than doubled to EUR 37m. Cement volumes fell by 4.6% and the cement turnover by 17.6%, with a negative EBITDA. Prices in the South-East, however, did show signs of recovery in the final quarter. In ready-mixed concrete, turnover fell by a further 12.8%, with prices being marginally higher in the South-East but lower in California, where competitive pressures were the worst.
The Turkish turnover rose by 23.2% to €208m in a strong market and the EBITDA was close to EUR37m as the margin improved from 14.9% to 17.7%. In cement, the turnover rose by 16.1% as volumes grew in double digits, and by in excess of 15% in the final quarter. Turnover in aggregates and concrete rose by 33.2%. In India, a turnover of EUR47.3m was generated by Bharathi Cement during the seven months it was consolidated, but the EBITDA margin was a modest 11% in a southern Indian market that suffers from over-capacity. The new 1.1Mta cement works in Kazakhstan went into production only in December and had no notable affect in the year.