Titan’s first quarter turnover improved by 2.1% to EUR342.1m and the EBITDA rose by 10.7% to EUR88.9m. Shipments of cementitous materials advanced by 6.9% to 3.57Mt and aggregates deliveries increased by 3.5% to 4.97Mt. However, the weakness in the US markets served by Titan led to a 3.7% decline in ready-mixed concrete volumes to 1.31Mm³. Net debt at the end of March stood at EUR524m compared with €363m a year earlier after having spent EUR266.5m on acquisitions and capital expenditure during the quarter.
The Greek activities had a strong first quarter, helped by a mild winter and a strong housing market in Greece that boosted both cement and aggregates volumes. As a result, turnover rose 32.8% to EUR153.8m and the EBITDA moved ahead by rose by 46.1% to EUR47.2m, in spite of a jump in kiln fuel costs of more than 35% and average domestic cement price increases of less than 3%. A modest ready-mixed concrete business was acquired in the Salonica area in the period. South Eastern Europe performed strongly and turnover rose by 80.0% to EUR37.8 thanks to mild weather and the continued underlying strong growth in the Bulgarian economy. The expansion of the Zlatna Panega works enabled the replacement of cement bought in my own production and as a result the EBITDA jumped from EUR2.9m to EUR15.9m. That was the prime factor behind the improvement, but better results from Macedonia and Serbia also helped.
The downturn in the United States housebuilding activity, in particular in Florida, translated into a 26.6% drop in turnover to EUR135.1m and the EBITDA fell by 52.4% to EUR18.2m. With the exception of Florida, cement prices were increased during the period. The concrete block making and ready-mixed concrete activities were particularly badly hit by the housing downturn and additional costs were incurred as a result of planning problems at a major extraction site in Florida.
The turnover in Egypt, run as a joint venture with Lafarge, rose by 8.5% to EUR15.4m and the EBITDA improved by some 10% to EUR7.6m, thanks further growth in domestic demand and a stable pricing environment.