In the first quarter of its financial year to 31st of March, Eagle Materials’ turnover dropped by 27.7% to US$127.9m, but the pre-tax profit jumped by 57.3% to US$17.2m, as a return to profit in the plasterboard operations and reduced interest payments more than made up for the reduction in profitability from cement, aggregates and concrete. The net interest charge dropped by 29.5% to US$5.6m as the net debt declined by 12.2% to US$421.9m and the gearing level came down from 123.4% to 96.6%.
Turnover from cement suffered from lower volumes and prices and declined by 28.3% to US$60.52m, of which the wholly-owned operations saw a 23.9% decline to US$43.2m while the company’s share of the Texas Lehigh joint venture fell by 37.3% to US$17.3m. As a result, the trading profit fell by 24.6% to US$17.1m. Consolidated cement deliveries declined by 21.9% to 0.59Mt (0.65Mst), with volumes falling by 16.4% in the wholly-owned operations and by 33.0% for the Buda joint venture. The amount of cement bought in from third parties was further reduced and accounted for just 4.1% of the volume in the period, compared with 20% a year ago. The average cement price declined by 8.9% to $97.95 per tonne (US$88.86/st).
Aggregates and ready-mixed concrete contributed a turnover of US$14.3m, a reduction of 24.2% and the trading profit fell by 28.5% to US$1.5m. Aggregates shipments declined by 27.7% to 0.52Mt (0.58Mst) and the average price achieved was 7.7% lower at US$7.4/t. Ready-mixed concrete volume suffered an 11.3% reduction to 0.12Mm³ and the average price showed a 7.9% reduction to US$89.51/m3.