Wienerberger continues to grow

Wienerberger continues to grow
Published: 02 April 2004

The leading clay products group Wienerberger AG has reported an increase in turnover for last year by 10.5 per cent in 2003, to €1826.9m and an operating profit at the EBITDA level 15.6 per cent higher at €349.9m, with margins widening from 18.3 per cent to 19.2 per cent.  The strongest growth came from the operations in north-western Europe, where the EBITDA rose by 54.4 per cent to €88.0m, benefiting from an initial contribution from the 50 per cent stake in Koramic Roofing and the full effect of the synergy benefits from the Continental arm of Hanson Brick, acquired in 2002.  In central Europe, which covers Germany, Switzerland and Italy, the EBITDA advanced by 30.1 per cent thanks to better prices in Germany and continued strong demand in northern Italy, though capacity utilisation remains unsatisfactory in Germany and in Switzerland.  Eastern Europe, including Austria, produced an 18.3 per cent improvement in the EBITDA to €127.3m, helped by growth in all markets except Austria and Poland, that were broadly stable.  The group continues to seek to increase its penetration in these lucrative and growing markets of the former Habsburg Empire and at the end of March launched a bid for the largest brick producer in Bosnia-Hercegovina and is looking for opportunities to expand further eastwards into Russia and the Ukraine.  In the United States, a strong housing market helped to push turnover ahead by some 9 per cent in local currency terms, but higher energy costs, start-up costs for the new brick works in Georgia and the weaker US dollar led to a 16.8 per cent drop in the EBITDA to €49.1m