Buzzi Unicem increases first half pre-tax by 48 per cent

Buzzi Unicem increases first half pre-tax by 48 per cent
Published: 14 September 2005

Buzzi Unicem’s first half turnover rose by 5.2 per cent to EUR1,382.2m and the EBITDA advanced by 8.2 per cent to EUR328.1m. Helped by a 25.5 per cent drop in net finance costs to EUR69m and an increased contribution from associates, the pre-tax profit staged a 48.3 per cent advance to €162.3m. Net debt at the end of June stood at EUR1223.5m to give a gearing ratio of 65.3 per cent. Overall cement deliveries rose by 3.2 per cent to EUR15.6Mt in the period, while the ready-mixed concrete production was 1.5 per cent higher at 7.4m m³.
 
Italian cement deliveries recovered in the second quarter and first half deliveries rose by 1.3%. However, strong competition led to decline in the average cement price achieved in spite of higher production costs.  Ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 4.2% lower, reflecting a reduced level of public sector civil engineering work though prices were slightly higher than in the comparative period. Overall turnover in Italy declined by 1.2 per cent to €476.2m while the EBITDA dropped by 21.7 per cent to €101.2m. €20.9m of the €28.2m drop in the Italian EBITDA was attributable to margin pressure in the cement business.
 
In Germany, turnover declined by 2 per cent to €24.5m as a further recovery in cement prices was offset by volumes being some 4 per cent lower in cement and down by six per cent in concrete, while the underlying EBITDA was off by 9 per cent at €22.3m.  In Luxembourg, turnover was little changed at €70.9m, in spite of cement and clinker shipments rising by 18.3 per cent as there was a strong increase in clinker exports to France while domestic cement deliveries were down a little.  Apart from the unfavourable product mix, higher electricity, kiln fuel and maintenance costs were incurred and the EBITDA declined by 15.9 per cent to €12.2m.