Italian cement maker Italcementi’s group net profit rose 16.2 per cent to Euro 540.6m in 2005 as tax benefits and growth in emerging markets offset a price slump in Italy. The company proposed a 0.33 euro per ordinary share dividend on 2005 results, up 10 per cent from a year ago, and a payout of 0.36 euro per savings share, up 9.1 per cent from a year ago. Italcementi said Italian prices had started to recover and together with a projected price rise in the United States and the consolidation of its Egyptian business, this meant operating profit would improve in 2006.
Operating profit fell 2.9 percent to 7Euro 65.8m for the full year, hit by higher depreciation and amortisation charges. But deferred tax benefits due to a change in tax laws and lower finance costs pushed up net profit. Fourth-quarter net profit was Euro 125.9m. The company did not provide a comparable year-ago figure, and existing figures are not directly comparable due to a change in accounting rules.