Turnover at FLS Industries rose by 8.7% to DKr.7767m (€1,031m) during the first half of 2004, while the EBITDA, though still modest, rose from DKr.27m (€3.6m) to DKr.362m (€48.7m). The trading profit was a positive DKr.96m (€12.9m) compared with a DKr.353m (€47.4m) loss last time. However, the lack of a positive contribution from asset disposals and higher financial charges led to the pre-tax number turning negative and showing a modest loss of DKr.27m (€3.6m). The agreed sale of Aalborg Portland Cement and Unicon to Cementir is expected to be completed during the final quarter of this year, once the required approvals have been obtained. Given the lack of overlap, this ought to be a formality. For the full year, FLS Industries is forecasting a turnover in the region of €1,800m to €1,900m, on the assumption that Aalborg Portland and Unicon remain part of the group for virtually the full period.
The engineering activities managed to increase turnover by 25.2% to DKr.4,686m (€630m), with F. L. Smidth, the cement industry engineering arm, contributing DKr.2,832m (€381m) of this, an increase of 33.5%, thanks to a good order book. The Buxton cement plant in England was handed over during the period and the order book has increased thanks to a positive development in the demand for new kiln capacity and other cement machinery. The EBITDA for the period was a positive DKr.21m (€2.8m) compared with a DKr.57m (€7.7m) loss in the comparative period last time.
Aalborg Portland Cement reported a turnover 20.6% higher at DKr.872m (€117m), with the EBITDA improving by 15.6% to DKr.296m (€39.8m). Sales of white cement in particular has been boosted by good demand in the United States and in the Middle East and grey cement sales have been good in both the United States and in Europe. As a result, the group’s three cement plants were all able to increase shipments. While higher freight rates are affecting exports to some countries, this is being countered by shipping into other markets, where the demand for Aalborg Portland’s cement is good.
Unicon, the ready-mixed concrete arm, saw improved levels of business in al its remaining markets, resulting in a 12.4% increase in turnover to DKr.687m (€92.3m) and the EBITDA jumping by 51.6% to DKr.97m (€13.0m), thought this did include DKr.15m (€2.0m) of a non-recurring character. Dansk Eternit increased turnover by 15.3% to DKr.483m (€64.9m) on the back of stronger sales in Britain, though volumes in Sweden and Finland were static, and the EBITDA jumped from DKr.7m (€0.9m) to DKr.40m (€5.4m) helped by the lower cost base in the Czech Republic, where manufacturing is now concentrated.