Hanson’s Californian cement price 19% higher

Hanson’s Californian cement price 19% higher
Published: 04 August 2005

Hanson increased total turnover in the first half by 8.7% to UK£1,893.8m, while the trading profit before gains on disposals and impairment charges rose by 28.4% to £196.0m. After an 18.0% reduction in the financing charge to UK£22.8m, the running profit before tax advanced by 38.8% to UK£173.2m. 
 
North American turnover rose by 9.2% to UK£768.1m and the trading profit in proved by 31.6% to UK£95.4m, helped by higher prices. The average cement achieved rose by 19.0% though shipments were 5.7% lower. In ready-mixed concrete, volumes fell by 6.9%, but prices rose by 13.1%, while aggregates shipments were 2.0% lower, mainly because of lower volumes in California, Arizona and Georgia, with prices improving by 6.0%.  On the other hand, shipments of concrete products and roof tiles rose by just over 10%, with prices ahead by 14.7% and 11.9% respectively.
 
The British operations contributed a turnover 14.4% higher at UK£652.7m and the trading profit jumped 53.1% to UK£70.3m as margins were boosted by shifting the aggregates mix towards higher value products, with volumes off by 5.2% but average prices increasing by 7.0%, higher than the 6.5% increase achieved in ready-mixed concrete. The rest of Europe showed a 0.8% decline in turnover to UK£111.0m and the trading profit fell by 20.7% to UK£9.2m, as lower profits from Spain and the Netherlands were only partially offset by an improvement in the Czech Republic.
 
The Australian and Asia Pacific operations delivered a 1.9% increase in turnover to UK£362.0m and the trading profit rose by 6.7% to UK£35.2m, with more than the whole of this improvement coming from an increased contribution from the 25% owned associate Cement Australia that has the benefit from both higher prices and improved productivity. Australian ready-mixed concrete shipments were 2.1% higher and prices improved by 3.0%, while aggregates prices were 7.0% higher on a volume down by 1.2%.