Holcim Romania: construction to grow at slower pace

Holcim Romania: construction to grow at slower pace
Published: 28 October 2008

The Romanian construction sector will grow by 10-15% in 2008, but it will temper its pace in 2009, due to the financial crisis and the change of lending conditions, Markus Wirth, cement producer Holcim Romania’s general manager, told MEDIAFAX on Monday.

"For 2009, we expect the same ascending trend of this market, yet at a lower level because of the change of the conditions for credits for houses, but also because of the financial crisis," Wirth said.

In 2008, the construction sector will continue its evolution from the start of the year and will grow by approximately 10-15% as compared to 2007, Wirth added.

Holcim Romania, planned for 2008 investments of EUR135m in upgrading its production facilities, building new stations and expanding its truck fleet. The company owns three cement factories in Romania, 16 concrete plants and five aggregates plants.

Holcim’s manager said the company has not been affected by the financial crisis yet.

"All the projects we have planned for 2008 are normally unfolding, and for the 2009 projects is yet early to discuss about possible changes of our plans, as assessment of the market development and the crisis consequences cannot be defined yet," Wirth said.

Holcim Romania announced last month its intention to increase its cement production either by further increasing the production capacities of the existing plants or by building a new cement plant.

"As an option, the company explores the possibilities of building a new cement plant in the area of Turda, Cluj county, and, should this investment be started, it will amount to approximately EUR 400 million," the company stated.

The company’s net income fell in 2007 by 34.5%, to 114.5 million lei, while its turnover rose with 28% to RON990 million, compared with previous year results.

Last week, German cement producer HeidelbergCement announced it might reconsider its development plans in Romania if the Romanian economy remains stagnant or even enters into recession, according to local unit’s CEO Mihai Rohan.

On the other hand, Austrian construction group Strabag said last week the current financial turmoil will not affect the Central and Eastern European markets in 2008, but sees a decrease in growth rates in 2010 from double digit values to around 3% for the whole group, including Romania.