Holcim hit by falling volumes and prices

Holcim hit by falling volumes and prices
Published: 04 March 2010

Holcim’s turnover in 2009 declined by 16.0% to SFr21,132m (€13,995m), which on a comparative basis represents a10.0% reduction.  The operating EBITDA was down slightly less, by 13.2% to SFr4,630m (€3,066m).  The trading profit fell by 17.2% to SFr2,781m (€1,842m), while the net attributable profit emerged 17.2% lower at SFr1,471m (€974m).  The proceeds from the sale of emission rights amounted to S.Fr.90m, compared with S.Fr.34m in 2008.  A similar amount of emission rights are likely to be sold this year, but what prices can be obtained for these remains to be seen.   Net debt at the end of December was down by 8.1% to SFr13,833m (€9,284m) to give a gearing level of 62.8%, compared with 83.7% at the end of previous year.  Capital investment last year was reduced by 47.5% in 2008 to SFr2,305m (€1,526m) and is expected to amount to around S.Fr.2,000m this year.  The reduction was post pronounced in maintenance expenditure, which was reduced from S.Fr.1,104m to just S.Fr. 376m (€249m).  Spending on acquisitions, on the other hand, more than doubled to S.Fr.2,285m (€1,513m), largely the acquisition of Cemex’ assets in Australia.   

Group cement deliveries were 8.0% lower at 131.9m tonnes, while sales of other binders dropped by 27.1% to 3.5m tonnes.  Holcim Trading saw trading volumes in cement, clinker and extenders decline by some 18% to around 19m tonnes in 2009.  The cement capacity, however, was increased by 4.4% to 202.9m tonnes.  The global aggregates volume fell by 14.5% to 143.4m tonnes, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries from the group’s 1,457 batching plants were down by 13.8% to 41.8m m³.  Sales of asphalt from the 114 production facilities fell by 18.5% to 11.0m tonnes.   In 2010, Holcim expects to add an additional 12.5m tonnes of new capacity, of which India should account for 8.1m tonnes, or almost 65% of the total, Alpha Cement in Russia for 2.1m tonnes and Holcim Apasco in Mexico for 1.6m tonnes.  Next year Garadagh Cement in Azerbaijan should bring on stream 1.7m tonnes of new capacity, largely to replace wet capacity, and Holcim Ecuador 1.8m tonnes, while no new cement plants are now scheduled to come on stream in 2012.