Heracles Cement returns to profitability

Heracles Cement returns to profitability
Published: 24 May 2006

Greek cement producer Heracles , majority-owned by France’s Lafarge , on Tuesday reported first quarter net profit of Euro 2.6m, compared to a loss of Euro 3.2m last year.  Heracles said first-quarter sales rose 17.4 per cent to Euro 141.2m, due to a 21 per cent increase of domestic sales volume and recovery of cement prices in foreign markets.
 
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at Euro 14.2m, compared to Euro 8.2m in the year-before period.  "The dynamic shown by the domestic cement market during the first quarter of 2006 is due to the big increase of private construction activity...and also due to the good weather conditions", the company said in a statement. 
 
 Heracles has three cement plants in Greece, with total annual production of 9.6Mt.  Its currently shares trade at 12.66 times 2006 earnings, at a discount to the multiple of 15.45 for the pan-european sector of construction materials, according to Reuters Estimates.