Buzzi Unicem’s turnover for the first nine months of the year improved by 10.1% to EUR2,618m, which, after allowing for a EUR83m positive effect from acquisitions and a EUR75m negative impact from exchange rate movements represented an underlying sales increase of 9.8%. Net debt at the end of September was 13.6% higher at EUR692m.
Cement shipments for the nine months were 4.3% ahead at 25.9Mt, with the strongest growth coming from central and eastern Europe and from Mexico, while US volumes were lower. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 4.5% to 12.7Mm³, thanks to increased shipments in particular in the Czech Republic, Poland and the Ukraine, but also in Mexico.
In Italy, turnover was 2.1% lower at EUR730m, largely reflecting an 8.9% decline in ready-mixed concrete deliveries. Reduced housebuilding activity and the completion of some major infrastructure projects led to a reduction in cement shipments in the third quarter but total cement shipments, including exports, in the year to date still show an advance of 1.7%. Cement prices show some improvement, but not sufficient to fully cover all the cost increases.
German turnover showed an underlying increase of 14.1% to EUR354m as prices improved in both cement and in ready-mixed concrete. The expected decline in domestic cement consumption, after a strong start to the year, did materialise, but export volumes have remained good, giving a volume increase of 6.8%. The average cement price has continued to improve and advanced by around 7%. Ready-mixed concrete volumes were little changed but pricing improved notably from the depressed levels previously being seen. In Luxembourg, turnover was some 22% higher at EUR71m, with domestic cement deliveries ahead by 29.3% and prices improving by approximately 5%.
Eastern European turnover increased by 44.9% to EUR532m. Exchange rate movements boosted the Czech and Polish numbers, but had an unfavourable impact on the Ukrainian and Russian numbers. Czech cement shipments rose by 28.0%, boosted by higher exports to ready-mixed concrete producing customers in Poland, while Czech cement prices improved by 4.4%. In Poland, cement shipments rose by 10.8% and prices rose by 18.9%. Ukrainian cement deliveries increased by 16.2%, while prices jumped by 72.4%, still influenced by the passing on of higher gas prices. Capacity constraints limited the increase in Russian cement deliveries to 1.8%, but the price advanced by 54.0%. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries in the Czech Republic, Poland and the Ukraine rose by 16.0%, with the main increases being seen in the Czech and Ukrainian markets.