Lafarge helped by Asian and African growth

Lafarge helped by Asian and African growth
Published: 04 May 2012

Tagged Under: Lafarge 1Q12 

Lafarge's first quarter turnover was up by 4.6% to €3353m, having risen by 8.6% in the comparable period last year, and the EBITDA improved by 7.7% to €516m, while the running profit advanced by 28.4% to €267m.  Net financial costs increased by 29.4% to €238m and the re-defined pre-tax loss increased from €7m to €40m, with the net attributable loss rising by 51.7% to €44m. Net debt at the end of March was 13.2% lower at €12,364m, giving a gearing level of 78.4%. Development capital expenditure was reduced by a further 35.8% to €188m, but maintenance capital spending was an adjusted €1m higher at €51m. 

Cement deliveries in the quarter were 0.6% higher at 31.3Mt and turnover from cement was up by 6.4% to €2448m, and the corresponding EBITDA improved by 9.4% to €513m. The aggregates tonnage was off by 4.3% to 33.2Mt, with the turnover improving by 3.8% to €470m and making an €8m loss at the EBITDA level, compared with a €7m profit a year earlier.  The ready-mixed concrete volume was down 6.6% to 7.1Mm³, producing a turnover 2.8% lower at €637m and an EBITDA down by 60% to €4m. 

The Middle East and Africa produced a turnover that was 7.1% higher at €1044m and the EBITDA progressed by 15% to €315m, with cement deliveries being 1.8% lower at 11.2.Mt. Aggregates shipments were off by some 7% to 2Mt, but ready-mixed concrete deliveries jumped by 30% to 1.7Mm³. Domestic cement deliveries in Egypt did improve by 1.8% in the period, albeit at prices those were off by 7.7%. In Irak, volumes improved by 3.9%, but prices were lower, while in Algeria volumes declined by 1.6% but here prices did improve. In Morocco, cement shipments increased by 17.6% but prices eased because of competitive pressures. Jordanian production fell notably as high gas prices made its cement uncompetitive.  Additional capacity in Nigeria led to a 36% volume increase and prices also improved. Kenyan volumes were also notably strong in the period, rising by 24.7%. In South Africa, volumes rose by 11% in cement and by 10% in aggregates, but declined by 2.5% in ready-mixed concrete. 

Total European turnover came off by 8.7% to €934m as the cement turnover declined by 5.5% to €532m and the cement EBITDA fell by 45.6% to €56m, with the Eastern European operations trading at a marginally higher winter loss. Cement shipments declined by 9.7% to 5.6Mt. French cement volumes were off by 6.9%, but the price/mix effect did improve by 0.7%. British cement shipments were off by just 0.5% and prices improved by 2.2%. Spanish volumes fell by 27.6% but prices did improve by 0.4%. Greek volumes dropped for the fourth year in a row and fell by 42.6% after a 28.7% reduction in the previous first quarter and the average price declined by 3.2%. In Poland, a harsh winter led to an 11.2% reduction in cement volumes but prices advanced. Romanian volumes did increase by 1.2% and prices improved by a similar magnitude. Russian volumes rose strongly by 14.5% and prices were well ahead, resulting in a 27.2% advance in the price/mix effect. Downstream, French volumes fell by 13.2% in aggregates and by 7.5% in ready-mixed concrete, while the British volumes were down by 14.0% and 12.5% respectively.  Polish aggregates shipments dropped by 34.0%, but are now recovering as the winter is past.  

Asian turnover rose by 14.4% to €644m and the EBITDA improved by 27.1% to €108m. The Asian cement turnover was 16.8% higher at €570m and the corresponding EBITDA rose by 30.5% to €107m, with cement shipments being 7.4% higher at 10.2Mt. In China, domestic deliveries improved by 2.3%, but price remained soft and declined in some areas.  South Korean volumes advanced by 8.1% and prices did stage a significant recovery, increasing by around 40% from a very depressed level, with domestic prices registering a 48% advance.
 
Philippine cement deliveries rose by 10.8% and bulk cement prices were raised by 4%, with the price of bagged cement only going up in mid March.  Malaysian cement deliveries increased by 9.8%, but half of the benefit was lost in weaker pricing. Indonesian volumes were marginally lower, while in India volumes rose by 7.7% in cement but declined by 10.3% in ready-mixed concrete.

North American turnover improved by 12.4% to €490m of which cement accounted for €216m, an 8% advance and the cement loss at the EBITDA level was more than halved to €15m. Cement shipments were virtually unchanged at €2m, in spite of disposals, and actual local currency prices improved by 19% in the United States and by 12.5% in Canada. Prices in the USA were raised by some 4% in the period and Lafarge is aiming for a further price increase there in August. The North American aggregates volume improved by 10.2% to 14.1Mt and the turnover was 29.3% higher at €159m. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 8.9% lower in the USA but 28.6% higher in Canada, giving at total volume reduction of some 11% to 1.1Mm³ but the turnover rose by 7.2% to €134m. Asphalt and paving, for which no volumes are given, did well.

In Latin America, turnover improved by 15.3% to €241 and the EBITDA was ahead by 11.3% to €59m. In cement, turnover increased by 13.6% to €217m and the EBITDA was 12% higher at €56m. Cement deliveries rose by 11% to 2.3Mt. In Brazil, volumes improved by 13.2%, with prices being little changed, while in Ecuador, volumes rose by 18.4% and turnover by 21.8% and Honduran deliveries declined by 0.8% though higher prices boosted turnover by 6.9%.