Buzzi Unicem benefits from mild winter

Buzzi Unicem benefits from mild winter
Published: 14 May 2007

Thanks to a mild winter in Europe and higher cement prices in all countries except for Italy, the Czech Republic and Mexico, where prices were stable, Buzzi Unicem’s first quarter turnover increased by 9.3% to EUR696.3m.  Cement shipments were ahead in all countries except for the United States and increased by 13.0% to 7.1m tonnes at the group level, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 9.6% higher at 3.6m m³.  The EBITDA improved by 9.2% to €130.7m, with the trading profit (EBIT) advancing by 15.2% to EUR81.6m and a more than halving of interest costs led to a 52.8% increase in the pre-tax profit to EUR73.0m.  The net debt increased as a result of buying out Dyckerhoff minorities and stood at €734.9m at the end of March after capital expenditure in the quarter of  EUR65.1m.    
 
The Italian turnover increased by 4.8% to EUR234.7m and the EBITDA emerged 5.5% higher at EUR40.9m. Cement deliveries rose by 11.5, but prices were only slightly higher and the price increases are not expected to fully cover the rise in costs expected for the year.  Ready-mixed concrete shipments declined by 1.7%, reflecting the increased pressures on public sector spending.    
 
The German operations increased cement volumes by 26.8% and ready-mixed concrete deliveries by 31.3%. Dyckerhoff succeeded in raising its German cement prices by some 8% and ready-mixed concrete prices advanced by approximately 6%.  The turnover increased by a quarter to EUR99.5m, with the underlying EBITDA advancing by EUR4.7m.  In Luxembourg, cement shipments increased by 60.9% and prices rose by around 6%, while the turnover rose from €13.3m to €20.7m and the EBITDA emerged 75% higher at EUR2.1m.    
 
The mild winter helped to boost cement deliveries in Eastern Europe by 55.2% and ready-mixed concrete deliveries by 64.7%.  In Poland, cement deliveries rose by 177.5% and ready-mixed concrete shipments were some 76% ahead, resulting in a 162.5% increase in turnover to EUR21m and a EUR6m profit was achieved against a loss lost time.  Cement prices moved ahead by some 19%.  The Czech and Slovak activities generate most of their turnover from ready-mixed concrete, where volumes rose by some 63% while cement shipments increased by 66.9%, though at broadly unchanged prices, with the turnover rising by 66.7% to EUR35m and EBITDA by 75.0%.  In the Ukraine, higher gas prices was the prime reason behind the 52% increase in cement prices, with volumes ahead by 77.1% in cement and by 48% in ready-mixed concrete.  The turnover increased by 123.1% to EUR29m and the EBITDA moved from break-even to EUR8m.  Thanks to the exceptionally mild Siberian winter, the Suchoi Log works managed to boost cement production by 12.6% and with prices ahead by some 44% thanks to the Russian cement shortage.  The turnover rose by 50% to €30m and the EBITDA quadrupled to EUR15m.