On an underlying basis, Buzzi Unicem’s turnover rose by 2.6 per cent to €541.3m for the first three months of 2005, of which Dyckerhoff represented some €202m, while, on the same basis, the EBITDA fell by 17.3 per cent to €76.4m. Several of the major European operations were negatively affected by unusually harsh winter weather in March and the early Easter. Cement deliveries in the period were 0.7 per cent lower at 6.1Mt while the ready-mixed concrete volume declined by 4.2 per cent to 3.1 m m³. Capital expenditure in the period amounted to €40.9m, while net debt at the end of March stood at €1,217.0m, which represents 59.3 per cent of total shareholders’ funds.
Italian cement deliveries were hit by unfavourable weather and two working days less in March as a result of which cement shipments were off by 8.5 per cent and ready-mixed concrete deliveries by 10.7 per cent. Volumes have, however, shown a good recovery in April and during the early part of May. Turnover emerged 7.4 per cent lower at €206.5m. Margins suffered not only because of lower volumes but also from the inability to pass higher production costs, mainly in respect of energy, and the EBITDA fell by 32.0 per cent to €36.5m. The higher energy costs were seen not just for kiln fuel but also in respect of electricity and transport.
Dyckerhoff’s German deliveries were off by 10.7 per cent during the quarter, but that implied a recovery in market share as domestic deliveries in Germany were reported to be off by some 28 per cent. Prices continued to recover and average close to €50 per tonne compared with €43 in the first quarter of 2004. With ready-mixed concrete deliveries also lower, turnover in Germany by 13.5 per cent to €92.0m while at the EBITDA level a loss of €3.7m was incurred. Luxembourg also suffered from the weather effect in March, along with the reduction in working days, and cement deliveries were down by 3.7 per cent and prices were slightly weaker giving a 10.1 per cent decline in turnover to €24.9m.