Vicat’s turnover declined by 9.8% in absolute terms and by 14.0% on a comparative basis to €425m during the first quarter of 2009. The cement turnover actually increased by 3.5% to €221m, while volumes were 0.1% higher at 3.19Mt. Turnover in concrete and aggregates registered a 21.9% drop to €152m as aggregates shipments fell by 24.5% to 3.77m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 26.5% to 1.40Mm³, while other products and services contributed a 17.6% reduction in turnover to €52m. In addition to the economic downturn, climatic conditions were unfavourable in France, Switzerland and Italy, as well as in the south-eastern United States.
In France, turnover was down by 22.6% to 192m. In cement turnover was off by 19.6% to €90m as prices showed an improvement, but volumes dropped by almost 24%. Concrete and aggregates also generated a turnover of €90m, this represented a reduction of 28.1%, but prices improved though deliveries were down by more than 31% in aggregates and by almost 32% in ready-mixed concrete. Other products and services registered a 15.2% reduction to €53m, with the main reductions coming in transport and building chemicals. Elsewhere in Europe, turnover was off by 16.1% to €51. The Swiss operations saw cement volumes drop by just over 22%, though some improvement in prices limited the fall in turnover to 19.1%, while turnover declined by 10.6% in concrete. In Italy, the cement tonnage dropped by 26%, but prices showed some recovery following the drop towards the end of last year.
The US operations saw the turnover decline by 16.7% to €51m, though on a comparative basis there was a 34.0% drop, with 61% of sales coming from the downstream operations. In California, cement deliveries were down by almost 17% and prices weakened with the turnover being down by 19.5%, while in concrete volumes dropped by almost 27% and the turnover by 30.1%. In the south-eastern states, cement shipments dropped by 40% and the turnover by 46.8%, while the underlying concrete deliveries were off by 35% but prices were showing come improvement. In Turkey, turnover declined by 17.9% but the devaluation of the pound led to a 31.2% drop to €23m. Turkish cement deliveries fell by almost 16%. Cement prices fell and exports to Russia were lost, but exports to Syria and Iraq were ahead. Downstream, deliveries fell by over 23% in aggregates and by over 23% in ready-mixed concrete.
Africa and the Middle East provided the only encouraging news, with turnover advancing by 60.2% to €108m. Helped by the coming on stream of the additional capacity at Sinai Cement, Egyptian volumes advanced by more than 82%, gaining market share, and prices continued to improve. In West Africa, which is mainly Sénégal, the underlying turnover increased by 14.9%, with both volumes and prices improving in cement, but aggregates deliveries declined by more than 20%.