Italcementi SpA managing director Rodolfo Danielli said sales growth in the fourth quarter is unlikely to exceed 10 per cent compared to a year earlier.
’I would be surprised to see another ten per cent growth as we have seen in the last quarters because the fourth quarter in 2005 was extremely good,’ Danielli said in an analyst conference call.
In the third quarter Italcementi’s sales rose 12.0 per cent YoY.
On cement market trends for the fourth quarter, he said prices in Italy are expected to grow compared to a year earlier, while volumes should remain stable.
In its other European markets both prices and volumes are seen rising in the fourth quarter, except in Belgium where they are seen stable, he said.
In North America, prices are expected to rise as well, while volumes should continue to fall.
In its emerging markets both prices and volumes should grow, although in Thailand volumes are seen stable due to the current political situation.
On investments, Danielli said that Italcementi has launched a €185m project in Bulgaria to expand by 50 per cent to 2.7Mt its yearly cement capacity.
The investment will allow it ’to continue to use Bulgaria as a source for export sales’, while commissioning of the project is expected in 2009, he said.
In Spain, the firm’s €73m investment in Malaga is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with production starting in early 2007, he said.
The investment will raise its yearly cement production in the country by 15 per cent to 1.2Mt.
In North America, Italcementi’s 320 mln usd investment has achieved all key permits and commissioning is expected in 2008, said Danielli.
The investment will raise its yearly cement production in the area by 40 per cent to 1.6Mt.
In Italy, he said the company should achieve ’pretty soon’ the permits for a project aimed at rationalising its industrial network.
Danielli added that in India Italcementi is investing €114m to bring its yearly cement capacity to 2.6Mt, with the commissioning of a project expected in 2008.
He added that its €30m investment to build a power plant in India is in progress, while commissioning is expected in the second quarter of 2007.
In Morocco the group is waiting for permits to invest €260m to expand to 2Mt its yearly cement capacity, he said.