Buzzi Unicem: European weather partly offset by American advance

Buzzi Unicem: European weather partly offset by American advance
Published: 14 May 2012

Tagged Under: Buzzi Unicem 

Buzzi Unicem’s turnover in the first quarter declined by 1.3% to €562.23m and the EBITDA dropped by 47.6% to €22.36m. The loss at the trading level rose by 87.3% to €34.14m. Net financial costs declined by 0.6% to €27.85m, resulting in a seasonal pre-tax loss 38.1% higher at €64.52m. Net debt at the end of March was 5.4% higher at €1,204.6m, giving a gearing level of 47.1%. Capital investment was reduced by 6.4% to €35.3m.  Cement shipments were hit by the harsh winter in Europe and declined by 4% to 5.4Mt, while group ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 12.5% to 2.8Mm³.  Proceeds from the sale of emission rights were limited to €1.8m, all of it in Germany.

The Italian turnover came off by 13.9% to €113.4m while the EBITDA dropped from a €0.2m profit to a loss of €4.8m as there were no benefit from the sale of emission rights, compared with a €6.4m gain in the comparative period last year. Cement and clinker volumes dropped by 24.5% but the average selling price did increase by 25.4% from the very depressed levels of a year ago. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 23.7%, with prices being only slightly ahead of a year ago. Unfavourable weather conditions did have an additional adverse effect on sales in the quarter.  

German cement volumes were hit by the harsher winter and cement deliveries declined by 14.1% to 0.94Mt, with German domestic deliveries being down by around 9%, while the average selling price improved by around 2%. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries came off by 6.8% to 0.75Mm³, while the modest aggregates tonnage more than doubled to 0.21Mt. Proceeds from the sale of emission rights declined from €3.1m to €1.8m. Turnover was down by 11.4% to €116m and the EBITDA dropped by some 83% to €3m. The Luxembourg subsidiary saw cement and clinker volume retreat by 17.3% to 0.26Mt because of adverse weather effects. Turnover was off by 17.9% to €23m while the EBITDA, which in the comparative period in the previous year had been boosted by sales of emission rights and a property, was a negative €1m. The Dutch turnover fell by 22.2% to €21m as aggregates deliveries declined by 12.5% to 0.19Mt and ready-mixed concrete volumes fell by 18.6% to 0.66Mm³. Prices were lower and a small loss was incurred.  

In Poland, cement deliveries advanced by 16.7% to 0.21Mt in spite of adverse weather conditions that saw some pressure on prices, which eased by 3.3%, and in ready-mixed concrete volumes fell by 18.7% to 0.14Mm³. Turnover was little changed, but a €1m loss was incurred. Czech cement deliveries dropped by 25.6% to 0.12Mt, but the average price edged up by 0.9% and ready-mixed concrete deliveries there and in Slovakia fell by 26.7% to 0.19Mm³ and turnover dropped by 33.1% to €19m and a loss was incurred. Ukrainian cement shipments improved by 6% to 0.25Mt and prices rose by 23.4%, while the small ready-mixed concrete operation managed to boost volumes by 37.5%. In Russia, Dyckerhoff’s cement prices rose by 22.8% and in an improving market and cement shipments were 11.9% higher at 0.46Mt. 

The United States, in contrast with Europe, benefited from favourable weather in the first quarter and cement deliveries rose by 15.2%, with the average dollar price recovering by 3.2%. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries increased by 3.6% and prices also showed improvements. The turnover advanced by 19.7% to €136.1m, helped by a positive €5.7m exchange rate effect. The improved profitability led to a swing at the EBITDA level from a €9.1m loss to a profit of €1m.  

The Mexican associate Corporaciòn Moctezuma increased turnover by 10.5% to €64.8m, helped by a 5.6% increase in the local selling price, and the EBITDA rose by 10.4% to €24.8m.  In constant currency, turnover advanced by 14.0% and the EBITDA by 13.9%, as the value of the Mexican peso declined by 3.1%. Cement deliveries improved by 11% and local currency prices advanced by 5.6%. Turnover in ready-mixed concrete increased by 5.6%, with prices being slightly better.