Significant growth rates were achieved in almost all countries. In Europe and North America, the adverse seasonal effects were comparatively weaker than in the previous year.
Total cement and clinker sales volumes rose by 16.8 per cent to 14.8Mt (previous year: 12.7Mt). Excluding changes in the consolidation scope, the increase amounted to 12 per cent.
In the first quarter, turnover rose by 28.7 per cent compared with the previous year to Euro1744m (previous year: Euro 1355m). The strongest increases were achieved in North America, Asia, Europe – particularly the United Kingdom, Norway and the countries of Eastern Europe – and Turkey.
Excluding exchange rate and consolidation effects, Group turnover increased by 19.1 per cent. Operating income before depreciation (OIBD) more than doubled, reaching Euro190.1m
The highest increases were achieved by North America, followed by Europe and Asia. The first savings gained through the “win” project, the new transparent and lean Group organisation as well as the noticeably increase in efficiency contributed to an improvement in results.
Heidelberg’s French participation Vicat exerted a considerable influence on the results from participations, which amounted to Euro 27.5 m (previous year: Euro 11.3m).
With the conclusion of a 50:50 joint venture in March 2006, HeidelbergCement extended its activities to the Indian subcontinent for the first time. The joint venture includes the cement grinding plant Indorama Cement Ltd., with a capacity of 750,000t of cement, which supplies the cities of Mumbai and Pune on the west coast of India. The company also operates a loading terminal near Mumbai. The permitting procedure for the construction of a clinker plant in the Indian state of Gujarat is currently in progress.
In Europe, the signs of an economic recovery are strengthening overall. The forecasts for this year are being revised upwards. Sales volumes improved in all countries as a result of the increased demand and new consolidations, with significant growth in most cases. The highest increases were recorded by the countries of Eastern Europe, as well as Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the Baltic region.
Total cement and clinker sales volumes in Europe rose by 23.3 per cent to 6.3Mt (previous year: 5.1Mt). Using the same basis for comparison, the increase amounted to 15.1 per cent. Sales volumes of readymixed concrete and aggregates also grew in comparison with the same period last year in almost all countries, with significant increases in some areas. In the first three months, turnover in Europe grew by 24.6 per cent to Euro 674m.
The positive assessment of the economic environment was strengthened further in the first few months of 2006. However, the developments of energy prices and of the US dollar exchange rate remain risk factors. The development of HeidelbergCement in the first quarter has confirmed its estimation for turnover and results to achieve double-digit growth in 2006.