Buzzi Unicem’s volumes down by a fifth

Buzzi Unicem’s volumes down by a fifth
Published: 14 May 2009

Buzzi Unicem’s first quarter cement deliveries fell by 20.0% to 5.5Mt and the group ready-mixed concrete volume dropped by 20.4% to 3Mm³.  The turnover was down by 22.2% to €587.35m and the EBITDA fell by 74.1% to €39.33m with a €12.11m loss being incurred at the trading level, compared with a profit of €102.28m. After a near quadrupling of the net interest charge to €32.48m, the pre-tax loss amounted to €45.25m. The net debt at the end of March was 12.0% ahead at €1,186.3m to give a gearing of 44.0%. Capital investment amounted to €98.7m, to a large extent on investment projects in the USA, Russia, Mexico and Luxembourg. 

The group’s Italian cement and clinker volumes declined by just 2.5% compared with a market fall of over 20%, which was largely explained by the acquisition of additional grinding centres last year that were only consolidated from the beginning of 2009.  These three grinding centres have a combined capacity of 1.62Mt and were all purchased from Cemex.  Selling prices did show some improvements in March as discounts were lowered in order to recover some of the cost increases.  Ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 19.5% in the period.  The Italian turnover was off by 14.2% to €175.8m and the EBITDA fell by 80.4% to €5.7m.   

The German cement plants saw volumes fall by 20.9% to 0.88m tonnes, though exports, principally to The Netherlands, were higher.  Ready-mixed concrete deliveries dropped by 21.5%.  Turnover was down by 12.2% to €100.7m, and the EBITDA fell a from a €9.9m profit to a loss of €1.4m.  In Luxembourg, domestic cement shipments dropped by 21.6% while prices increased by 4.0%, with turnover falling by 23.6% to €14.9m and seasonal loss rose by €1.7m to €2.2m.  The Dutch business saw turnover decline by 24.5% to €24.1m and a modest loss was incurred as volumes dropped by 16.2% in concrete and by 31.6% in aggregates.    

In Poland the weather had a serious impact and cement deliveries fell by 47.3% to 0.17m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete shipments were down by 27.0%.  Turnover dropped 50.0% to €18m and the EBITDA by some 70% to €3m.  Cement prices improved by 7.6% and ready-mixed concrete prices by around 2%.  The Czech and Slovak activities generate most of their turnover from ready-mixed concrete, where volumes dropped by 50.1% to 0.24Mm³, while cement shipments dipped by 44.8% to 0.11m tonnes.  The turnover fell by 46.9% to around €26m and EBITDA by 80% to €2m. 

The Ukraine was the country worst hit and here the turnover dropped by 72.7% to €12m and a €5m loss was incurred.  Cement shipments were down by 63.5% to 0.21m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete deliveries were around 61% lower.  Russia performed relatively better with a volume reduction of 28.1% to 0.31Mt.  Russian cement prices came back by some 35% in the quarter and dropped by 57.9% to €24m and the EBITDA amounted to €10m, in spite of being down by 75.6%.