Buzzi Unicem is advancing in Russia and in the USA

Buzzi Unicem is advancing in Russia and in the USA
Published: 13 May 2013


Buzzi Unicem's first-quarter turnover declined by 10.5 per cent to €503.14m and the EBITDA dropped by 51 per cent to €11.75m but advances were seen in Russia and the USA.

The loss at the trading level was 29.7 per cent higher at €42.03m. Net financial charges declined by 7.3 per cent to €25.83m to give a seasonal pre-tax loss 7.1 per cent higher at €68.82m. Net debt at the end of March was 9.1 per cent higher at €1227m, giving a gearing level of 50.4 per cent compared with 47.1 per cent a year earlier. Capital investment was 11.1 per cent higher at €39.2m. 

Cement deliveries were again negatively affected by the severe winter in Europe and declined by a further 11 per cent to 4.8Mt. Group ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 17.1 per cent to 2.3Mm³.  There were no proceeds from the sale of emission rights in the period, compared with €1.8m a year ago.

The Italian turnover declined by a further 26.3 per cent to €83.6m while the loss at the EBITDA level increased from €4.8m to €10.2m. The adverse weather conditions during February and March led to a drop in cement and clinker volumes of around a quarter, in spite of some increase in the amount exported. The average selling price did improve by 2.8 per cent. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 36.5 per cent on prices that were slightly ahead of a year earlier.  

German cement volumes suffered from a yet harsher winter and cement deliveries fell by a further 16.6 per cent to 0.81Mt, but prices did improve by 2.8 per cent. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 24.8 per cent to 0.56m m³ and the aggregates tonnage dropped by 32.7 per cent to 0.14Mt. Turnover declined by 18.1 per cent to €95.4m and the EBITDA loss jumped from €0.4m to €9.9m. The Luxembourg subsidiary was also badly affected by the weather and cement and clinker volumes fell by 20 per cent to 0.21Mt and prices weakened by 6.9 per cent. The turnover came off by 17.9 per cent to €19.2m, but the EBITDA loss was reduced by €0.4m to €1.1m. The Dutch turnover fell by 37 per cent and the EBITDA loss rose from €1.8m to €2.8m, with aggregates deliveries falling by 23.4 per cent to 0.51Mt and ready-mixed concrete volumes by 37.2 per cent to 0.12Mm³.

In Poland, cement deliveries fell 39 per cent to 0.13Mt, largely in response to adverse weather conditions and ready-mixed concrete volumes came down by 21.6 per cent to 0.1Mm³. Turnover fell by one-third to €12m while the EBITDA loss remained at €1m. Czech cement deliveries eased by six per cent to 0.11Mt, while downstream volumes in the Czech Republic and Slovakia declined by 14.6 per cent in aggregates to 0.14Mt and by 9.4 per cent to 0.17Mm³ in ready-mixed concrete, as turnover was some 11 per cent lower at €17m and again a loss of €2m was incurred. Ukrainian turnover declined by 17 per cent to €15m and the EBITDA loss rose by one-third to €4m. Cement shipments came down by 16.6 per cent to 0.21Mt and the small ready-mixed concrete business saw volumes decline by some 24 per cent. In Russia, turnover rose by one-fifth to €48m and the EBITDA improved by 14.3 per cent to €16m, as cement shipments rose by 14.8 per cent to 0.53Mt. 

The United States first quarter and cement deliveries improved by 3.9 per cent and the average price improved by 2.7 per cent in dollar terms and ready-mixed concrete deliveries, which are more biased towards Texas, advanced by 18.7 per cent and prices improved. The turnover advanced by 9.3 per cent to €148.8m, in spite of a negative €1.1m exchange rate effect. The EBITDA rose from €2.5m to €10.2m. 

The Mexican associate Corporaciòn Moctezuma saw turnover decline by 12.4 per cent to €56.8m and the EBITDA came down by 17.7 per cent to €20.4m, as a 1.9 per cent appreciation of the Mexican peso against the euro boosted the numbers on translation. Cement deliveries declined by 15.5 per cent and competitive pressures increased with cement prices in local currency easing by 2.5 per cent. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 0.3 per cent higher, with prices being marginally lower on average.

On the assumption that the weather-related volume losses can be recovered, Buzzi Unicem expects a moderate improvement of its results for the full year. Buzzi Unicem now aims to compulsorily acquire the 3.38 per cent outstanding minority in Dyckerhoff, which would cost €63.5m.