Holcim’s turnover rose by 29.8% in 2006 to SFr23,969m (EUR15,170m) and the operating EBITDA advanced by 31.5% to SFr6,086m (EUR3,852m) as margins improved from 25.1% in 2005 to 25.4% last year. On a comparable basis, turnover rose by 9.0%, with acquisitions adding 19.5% and the remaining 1.3% coming from exchange rates. The trading profit improved by 32.2% to SFr4,385m (EUR2,775m), while at the net level the increase was more marked at +52.0% before minorities and +39.2% at the net attributable level at SFr2,104m (EUR1,332m). Capital investment rose by 56.5% to SFr2,326m (€1,445m), while a further SFr2,045m (EUR1,270m) were spent on acquisitions. Net debt at the end of the year was just 1.1% higher at SFr12,837m (EUR7,973m) and the gearing level fell from 89.1% to 68.6%.
Group cement volumes rose by 27.2% last year to 140.7Mt, as the cement capacity increased by 23.3% to 197.8Mt. A further 24.6m tonnes of new capacity is currently being built for completion in the 2007 to 2009 period, at an average cost of just under EUR90/t, with 8.3Mt scheduled to come in stream this year, mainly in Asia. Aggregates shipments rose by 10.8% to 187.6Mt, with ready-mixed concrete deliveries rising by 15.7% to 44.2m m³. Holcim’s Madrid-based international cement trading activities handled 23Mt, some 2.5% less than in the previous year.
European turnover increased by 23.4% to SFr8,673m (EUR5,489m) and the EBITDA rose by 22.5% to SFr1,966m (EUR1,244m). Cement shipments across Europe were 3.5% higher at 32.9Mt, with a further 2.2Mt, +15.8% coming from the sale of extenders. A full period’s contribution from Aggregate Industries and Foster Yeoman from September helped to boost aggregates shipments by 19.7% to 95.4Mt, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries advanced by 13.6% to 20.0Mm³. With the exception of Italy and Spain, where Holcim is focussing on improving margins, deliveries were ahead in all European markets. Particularly strong growth was seen in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria and the group’s Russian plants achieved record volumes. A new grinding plant with an annual capacity of 0.6m tonnes is being built near Rouen, which should strengthen Holcim’s position in the greater Paris market.