Vicat’s first half turnover declined by 2.5% to EUR1,054.8m, which represents a 0.2% reduction on a comparative basis, while the EBITDA declined 6.8% to EUR269.4m. The net interest charge rose to 62.8% to EUR12.8m, but the gearing is a modest 38.2% with net debt standing at EUR669m. The pre-tax profit was 7.0% lower at EUR118.6m and the net attributable profit declined by 6.7% to EUR128.5m. Cement deliveries rose by 2.0% to 7.24Mt and turnover from cement amounted to EUR586m, or 55.5% of the group total.
Cement accounted for 48% of turnover in the period and concrete and aggregates for 37%, with other products making up the remaining 15%
The French turnover rose by 3.8% to EUR541m and the EBITDA advanced by 9.1% to EUR142m. The improved margins reflect an increased use of alternative fuels, the forward buying of energy, reduced transport between plans and reduced external purchases of clinker as well as an improved energy performance at the Montalieu works.
The commissioning of a new cement mill at Montalieu in the second half should further reduce clinker movements and reduce the electricity consumption per tonne of cement produced.
In the United States, turnover declined by 31.5% to EUR136m, though at constant exchange rates and parameters the reduction was a more modest 23.5%. The EBITDA fell by 45.3% to EUR24m, which represents a drop of 36.7% on a comparative basis. The US volume reduction has been the most pronounced in California and in particular in ready-mixed concrete, with prices showing signs of weakness as well. On the positive side, plant performance was good and there as no need to buy in clinker, as the Ragland works did not have the previous year’s stoppage of clinker production.
Turnover in Turkey improved by 4.6% to EUR95m in spite of unfavourable weather conditions and exchange rate movements, but notably lower prices achieved in both cement and concrete and higher transport costs as well as start-up costs of the new Bastas kiln, which has now reached design capacity, reduced the EBITDA by 48.3% to EUR16m. Turkish cement prices fell by more than 13% compared with the first half of last year, while the weakness in the domestic market was partially compensated for by exports to Russia. Elsewhere in Asia, work has started on the construction of the Jambyl Cement plant in Kazakhstan and the group has decided to invest in a 5.5Mta cement plant at Gulbarga in the Indian state of Karnataka, in which Vicat will hold 51% of the equity and Sagar Cements the remainder. Vicat is also taking a 6.6% stake in Sagar Cements. The Gulbarga works, which will have two kiln lines, is expected to be completed in 2012 at a cost of some US$625.