Titan’s first quarter turnover emerged 0.6% lower at EUR340.2m and the EBITDA declined by 14.3% to EUR76.2m, while at the net attributable level there was a 15.8% reduction to EUR43.7m. Higher financial charges were largely offset by a lower tax rate that left the reduction the net profit not that much different from the decline in EBITDA, but for the full year this will be very different, when the effect of the acquisition of the Adocim stake and the buying out of Lafarge’s half share in the Egyptian joint venture will show through on the profit and loss account. However, the gearing level at the start of the year was a very modest 48.9%. Titan’s cement deliveries advanced by 3.1% to 3.68Mt, in spite of lower volumes in Greece and the USA, the two largest markets, and ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 6.1% to 1.39Mm³. The absence of a favourable Lake Belt ruling by the US courts left aggregates shipments 10.5% lower at 4.45Mt.
The activities in Greece and Western Europe generated a turnover 1.7% ahead at EUR153.8m, but the weaker Greek market, compared with an exceptionally strong performance in the first quarter of last year, left the EBITDA 19.9% lower at EUR37.8m. Higher prices have only partially compensated for the increases in energy, raw material and freight costs and the initial allocation of CO2 emission permits suggests not only a shortfall on requirements, but also an unequal treatment of the three Greek cement producers by the authority responsible for awarding the permits.
The business in South Eastern Europe raised turnover by 36.8% to €51.4m and the EBITDA was 17.5% higher at EUR17.5m. The enlarged Zlatna Panega works in Bulgaria is already working to capacity and additional volumes are being supplied from Greece. Cement volumes are also ahead in Serbia, with a favourable pricing being seen across Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia, though costs have also risen, eating into margins.
The poor state of the US market, particularly in Florida, and the falling value of the US dollar have combined to reduce the United States turnover by 10.4% to €121.1m and the EBITDA fell by 27.9% to EUR13.2m. This in spite of the favourable influences from expansion ready-mixed concrete and in fly ash. The environmental assessment of the Pennsuco quarry, and thus assessing its future re-opening has been further delayed and is now not expected before the end of July.
The Eastern Mediterranean turnover improved by 7.1% to €16.5m and the EBITDA emerged EUR0.1m higher at EUR7.7m. Demand is strong, but production is running at the limit of current capacity and higher prices are largely being absorbed by higher costs. The additional capacity being built at Beni Suef will not be available until towards the end of next year. Meanwhile, Titan is paying EUR330m to buy out Lafarge’s share of the Egyptian joint venture was Lafarge as taken control of the second largest cement manufacturer in Egypt.