Italian cement maker Buzzi Unicem reported a three per cent increase in consolidated net profit in the first six months of 2008 and said in a statement on Tuesday year operating results should be just below 2007.
Buzzi Unicem, whose shares had risen over three per cent ahead of the announcement on expectations from analysts of a strong performance, said core profit was up 6.4 per cent in the first half, with revenues up 3.8 per cent.
Operating profit was up 5.5 per cent at EUR348.5m, and consolidated net profit was EUR168.7m.
"We reckon that the full year 2008 will close with recurring operating results slightly lower than the very satisfactory ones posted in 2007," Buzzi Unicem said in its statement.
"The result is due to a positive trend in nearly all emerging countries and in the central Europe markets," it added.
"The group’s good geographical diversification will continue to offset the slowdown reported by some countries and the negative effects of foreign exchange fluctuations," the company added.
Its German subsidiary, Dyckerhoff , turned in a 19 percent rise in sales for the first half on Monday and Cheuvreux analysts had said earlier on Tuesday this boded well for Buzzi Unicem’s results.
Its compatriot Italcementi said at the beginning of August it suffered a 37 percent fall in first-half profit.
For Buzzi Unicem, while Italy volumes are seen decreasing, in Germany and the Netherlands "construction investments should remain positive, although at lower levels than in the first six months".
Italy’s economy showed zero growth in the second quarter over a year ago, according to the latest data, while Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, is expected to show 1.6 percent growth year-on-year in the quarter, a poll of economists by Reuters showed. Its economy should contract from the January to March period, the poll suggested. Germany will report official gross domestic product figures on August 14.
Buzzi Unicem said the US crisis in residential construction "is not foreseen to end in 2008", with a fall of eight per cent expected in its subsidiaries’ cement sales "in a slightly negative pricing environment".