Buzzi Unicem improves profit at lower volumes

Buzzi Unicem improves profit at lower volumes
Published: 06 August 2012


Buzzi Unicem’s first half turnover edged ahead by 0.9 per cent to €1,350.9m, but the EBITDA recovered by 7.7 per cent to €197.2m. For the full year Buzzi Unicem is maintaining its overall forecast of broadly unchanged numbers overall, but the expected geographical mix has changed.

The first half trading profit increased by 34.4 per cent to €84.0m and the interest charge jumped by 35.3 per cent to €62.2m, giving a pre-tax profit still 36.3 per cent higher at €22m. After a tax charge 8.3 per cent lower at €3.9m and a minorities charge 21.2 per cent higher at €14.8m, there was a net attributable profit of €3.3m, compared with a loss of €0.3m.


Net debt at the end of June was 8.4 per cent lower at €1159.6m, giving a gearing level of 43.4 per cent, down from 47.3 per cent a year earlier. Capital expenditure was 8.8 per cent lower at €72.4m, of which €18.9m was for capacity increases.

Group cement deliveries declined by 2.6 per cent to 13.1Mt. The prices achieved were higher in all markets with the exception of the Luxembourg and Poland, where they were slightly down. The group ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 11.0 per cent to 6.6Mm³

Cement and clinker volume in Italy fell by in line with domestic consumption, or by 23 per cent in the six months, but the pricing improved and the average price achieved improved by 20.9 per cent. Fuel costs declined but electric power costs rose. In spite of taking a €13.5m gain on the sale of emission rights, the same as a year ago, the results deteriorated. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 24.8 per cent in volume terms, but prices improved by 5.6 per cent. Buzzi Unicem’s Italian turnover came off by 15.3 per cent to €245.7m and the EBITDA dived from a positive €6.9m to a loss of €1.3m.

In Germany, Dyckerhoff’s turnover declined by 7.1 per cent to €286.0m and the EBITDA fell by 32.4 per cent to €30.1m. Cement shipments came off by 9.4 per cent to 2.40Mt influenced by lower exports, but average prices improved by 1.6 per cent. The gain on the sale of emission rights was reduced from €3.0m to €1.8m. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries eased by 3.7 per cent to 1.81m m³ and prices were some 2 per cent lower, while aggregates deliveries almost doubled to 0.48Mt. Luxembourg cement volumes came off by 10.3 per cent and the average price was about 1 per cent lower. The turnover declined by 10.5 per cent to €54.0m, with the EBITDA, before last year’s property gain, being more than halved to €6.2m, as there were no emission gains compared with €4.1m. The Dutch turnover came down by 19 per cent to €47m and the EBITDA turned negative with a €1.7m loss, with volumes declining by 14.5 per cent in ready-mixed concrete and by 15.9 per cent in aggregates.

After a very strong 2011, the Polish turnover reversed by 19 per cent to €53.1m and the EBITDA fell by 34.4 per cent to €9.9m. Cement volumes came off by 6.8 per cent to 0.66Mt and prices were stable, while ready-mixed concrete volumes came down by 24.7 per cent to 0.34Mm³, but prices improved by one per cent. The Czech and Slovak turnover came down by 20.2 per cent to €64.1m and the EBITDA dropped by 47.3 per cent to €7.9m. Cement volumes retreated by 17.5 per cent to 0.47Mt, but the average price edged up by close to one per cent. In aggregates, volumes came off by 14.2 per cent to 0.62Mt, and while prices weakened in sand they were but up in gravel. Ready-mixed concrete volumes declined by 12 per cent to 0.68Mm³, with prices being down by four per cent. 

The Ukrainian turnover rose by 43.3 per cent to €60.8m and the EBITDA jumped from €1.0m to €4.4m. Cement volumes improved by 9.0 per cent to 0.83Mt and prices improved by 22 per cent, with concrete prices going up by 29 per cent and volumes by 24 per cent.  In Russia, turnover rose by 40.2 per cent to €105.4m, and the EBITDA jumped 100.5 per cent to €41.2m. Cement shipments increased by 17.4 per cent to 1.28Mt on prices that were 15.3 per cent higher.

The United States operations of the Buzzi Unicem group increased overall volumes by 16.3 per cent in cement but only by 1.1 per cent in ready-mixed concrete. Average cement selling prices recovered by 3.4 per cent in local currency, helped by good demand in the spring, while energy prices were stable. Turnover recovered by 15.3 per cent to US$418.8m, which on translation converts into a 24.8 per cent increase to €323.1m. At the EBITDA level, there was jump from €15.8m to €50.7m, though in dollar terms the increase was ‘just’ 197.0 per cent. The underlying margin jumped from 6.1 per cent to 13.3 per cent.  

The 50 per cent-controlled Mexican associate Corporaciòn Moctezuma increased cement deliveries by 9.9 per cent and prices in local currency improved by 6.3 per cent. Deliveries of ready-mixed concrete rose by 9.4 per cent and ready-mixed concrete prices improved by 3.9 per cent. A devaluation of the Mexican currency, compared with a revaluation this time last year, limited the increase in turnover to 11.2 per cent, from the 14.5 per cent growth rate in Mexican currency, to €131.6m. The EBITDA improved by 20.2 per cent to €49.8m.