Boral’s turnover in the six months to the end of December improved by 2.5% to A$2388m (EUR1791m) and the EBITDA by 3.9% to A$269m (EUR207m), with the trading profit advancing by 12% to Aus$149m (EUR 112m).
With a 36.7% drop in the net interest charge to Aus$31m (EUR 23m), the pre-tax profit advanced by 39.3% to A$117m (EUR 88m). Net debt at the end of December dropped by 49.1% at A$634m (EUR 475m) to give a very modest gearing of just 20%. Capital expenditure was almost doubled to A$88m (EUR 66m) and A$128m (EUR 96m) was spent on acquisitions.
The turnover of the cement division, which also includes aggregates and concrete in Indonesia and Thailand, increased by 3.8% to A$271m (€203m), of which Australian cement represented 56% and Asia the remainder. The EBITDA advanced by 17.1% to A$82m (€61m). Blue Circle Southern Cement sold 7% less cement at marginally higher prices. The Queensland joint venture, Sunstate Cement, stands to benefit from rebuilding work following the serious flooding. The Indonesian turnover was off by around 5% to A$78m (€58m), with margins suffering from increased competitive pressure. The Thai business did increase volumes by 21% and became profitable after a loss-making period.