Holcim’s cement deliveries in the first six months declined by an underlying 8.6 per cent to 65.1Mt, but the company said its strong presence in growth markets, helped it perform well in a difficult economic environment.
Turnover was down by an underlying 11.2 per cent to SwFr10,082m (EUR6721m) and the running EBITDA fell by 23.5%, or by 14.4% at the underlying level, to EUR1,429m. By mid-year, fixed costs have already been reduced by SFr381m.
That means the targeted annual reduction has already been achieved, the company said. European construction activity during the second quarter remained depressed. Cement shipments dropped by 24% to 13Mt and the sharpest reductions in domestic cement deliveries were seen in Slovakia (-56.5 per cent), Spain (-40.7%) and Bulgaria (-38.2%). Weak results were also reported from Great Britain and France and from much of Eastern Europe, with kilns taken out of production in Bulgaria, Hungary and Russia. Interestingly, in the US Holcim noted a slowdown in the negative trend for the second quarter. North American turnover fell by 22.2 per cent to EUR963m and the EBITDA dropped by 57.3 per cent to EUR57m. “In the US, the deep recession continued to shape events in all markets, although the downturn became less severe in the second quarter, “ Holcim said.
In the Asia Pacific area, cement deliveries increased by 1.8% to 34.1Mt, thanks in particular to a strong performance in India and higher volumes also in Vietnam, the Philippines and Bangladesh. Latin American turnover fell by 18.5% and the underlying turnover in the Africa and the Middle East region improved by two per cent. Holcim gave a positive outlook for those regions worst-hit by the global downturn. “In Europe and North America, the government stimulus programmes will have a positive impact on demand building up gradually over the next year,” the company said.