Further margin improvement at Holcim

Further margin improvement at Holcim
Published: 24 August 2007

Holcim increased its first half turnover by 19.5% to SFr13,002m (EUR7,977m) with the operating EBITDA improving by 22.3% to SFr3,324m (EUR2,039m).  The trading profit rose by 24.8% to SFr2,423m ( EUR1,487m) and at the net attributable level there was a 195.1% jump to SFr2,423m (EUR1,482m), helped by the €675m capital gain in South Africa . The net debt at the end of June showed a 3.4% increase to SFr13,279m (EUR7999m) to give a gearing level of 60.3% compared with 69.7% a year earlier.  Capital investment in the period was 43.2% higher at SFr1,303m (EUR799m), while acquisitions amounted to just SFr44m (EUR27m). First half cement volumes increased by 13.3% to 74.2Mt, with aggregates deliveries ahead by 3.2% to 87.3m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete deliveries improving by 2.4% to 21.2Mm³.  
 
European turnover improved by 27.3% to SFr5,065m (EUR3,107m) and the EBITDA rose by 27.5% to SFr1,135m (EUR696m), and demand improved in all Holcim countries except for Spain and Italy.  Cement deliveries were up by 5.2% on a comparative basis and by 9.1% overall to 16.8Mt, while aggregates deliveries were helped by the addition of Foster Yeoman and rose by 15.1% to 51Mt, but the ready-mixed concrete volume were off by around 1% to 9.5Mm³.  Domestic cement deliveries were ahead in all countries except for Switzerland and Belgium, with the strongest increases being seen in Romania and Bulgaria, followed by the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia. Cement prices improved with the exception of Croatia and Italy and jumped by 44.4% in Russia. Downstream volumes were generally ahead, with the exception of Spain and Italy.  Cement capacity is currently in the process of being expanded in France, Romania, Bulgaria and Russia.