Including its share of the jointly-owned Texas Lehigh Cement, first half turnover at Eagle Materials showed a 15.4% decline in turnover to US$478.7m, because of lower volumes and prices in the gypsum business. The turnover generated by the cement and plasterboard operations were virtually identical at 40.4% each.
The trading profit before corporate overheads was down by 37.5% to US$125.8m, of which cement accounted for 50.8%. Corporate overheads rose by 7.2% and the net interest, largely as a result of increased capital expenditure in the cement division, rose from US$2.9m to US$7.9mto give a the pre-tax 42.9% down to US$107.8m. Shareholders’ funds at the end of September were 13.3% higher at US$1,093.0m.
The cement turnover increased by 10.2% to US$193.4m, of which the wholly-owned operations contributed 5.5% more at US$146.4m and Eagle Materials’ share of the joint venture with HeidelbergCement at Buda, Texas, jumped by 26.8% to US$47.0m.
The trading profit improved by 12.3% to US$63.9, as a 21.4% increase in the subsidiaries more than made up for the 9.1% reduction from the associate, in part explained by exceptional credits in the prior year period. Cement deliveries were 7.5% higher at 1.79Mt (1.92Mst), with the Buda joint venture pushing volumes up by 24.5%, while wholly-owned tonnage was just 2.5% ahead.
Cement demand remained good in all for markets served by the group. The amount of cement bought from other manufacturers in, however, dropped by around 17% to 0.43Mt as the group’s capacity increased. Average cement prices improved by 4.5% over the six months to $105.79/t (US$95.97/st).