Buzzi Unicem hit by Eastern Europe, the USA and Italy

Buzzi Unicem hit by Eastern Europe, the USA and Italy
Published: 10 February 2010

Buzzi Unicem’s turnover in 2009 declined by 24.1% to €2,672m, of which Dyckerhoff accounted for €1,369m, a drop of 30.9%.  On a like for like basis, turnover declined by 22.8%.  The weaker performance of the Dyckerhoff sub-group primarily reflects the sharp drop in Russia and the Ukraine, and to a lesser extent, the EU countries in Eastern Europe.  Net debt hat the end of last year was 14.3% higher at €1,212m, after having spent some €230m on four major projects in the USA, Russia, Luxembourg and Mexico.  Other projects, in Germany, Russia and the Ukraine have been postponed until market conditions improve.  The group cement volume fell by 20.4% last year to 25.5Mt, with the sharpest falls taking place in the Ukraine and in Russia, followed by the United States, the Czech Republic and Italy.  Deliveries of ready-mixed concrete declined somewhat less drastically, being down by 18.4% to 13.9Mm³. 

The Italian turnover was down by 16.9% to €707m as civil engineering, commercial building and housebuilding all went into decline and the public sector had no funds with which to stimulate demand.  Buzzi Unicem’s cement shipments, including exports of cement and clinker, fell 16.4%, to 6.1Mt, another year of double-digit decline, with demand in the traditional export markets also being in decline.  On top of this, strong price competition led to a 6.0% drop in the average cement price received.

Polish cement deliveries emerged 10.1% lower and the ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 15.8%.  The turnover fell by 34.2% to €121m, as the zloty lost value and local currency prices came down by 1.2% in cement and by 9.2% in ready-mixed concrete.  Prospects for cement and concrete are better in Poland this year, thanks to a good increase in infrastructure investment, unlike in the rest of Eastern Europe.  In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the turnover declined by 32.6% to €176m and the cement volume was down by 23.9% and the concrete volume by some 29%, with no improvements in volume expected this year.

In the United States, turnover fell by 18.3% to €613m, though in dollar terms the underlying decline was 27.0%.  Cement deliveries fell by 24.2%, slightly better than the overall market drop of some 27%.  Average cement prices declined by 4.5%, with prices being particularly weak towards the end of the year.  Ready-mixed concrete deliveries were helped by the increased scope of consolidation and, thanks to that effect, were down by just 10.5%, and prices were virtually stable, being off by just 0.2%.