Holcim's results boosted by mild winter in Europe

Holcim's results boosted by mild winter in Europe
Published: 28 April 2014


Holcim's first quarter turnover declined by 5.4 per cent to CHF4,088m (€3,342m), but on a like-for-like basis, there was a 7.8 per cent increase while measured in euros the turnover was off by five per cent. 

The operating EBITDA declined by 5.1 per cent to CHF617m (€504m), but this represents an underlying increase of 10.1 per cent. The trading profit increased by 9.3 per cent to CHF295m (€241m), while the net attributable profit dropped by 57.5 per cent to CHF80m (€65m), as last year's gain on the sale of a 25 per cent stake in the Australian operations to HeidelbergCement was not repeated. Net debt at the end of March was 6.1 per cent higher at CHF10,040m (€8232m) to give a gearing level of 53.3 per cent, little changed from the 53.1 per cent a year earlier.

Deliveries
Cement deliveries recovered by five per cent to 33Mt, while the mineral components volume rose by 4.9 per cent to 0.7Mt. The aggregates volume improved by 2.2 per cent to 29.2Mt, but ready-mixed concrete declined by twp per cent to 8.2Mm³, while sales of asphalt mix staged a 23.3 per cent recovery to 1.4Mt. 

Asia-Pacific
The Asia Pacific area represented 41.2 per cent, down from 45.9 per cent in the previous year, of turnover, or CHF1,683m (€1,376m), a 15.1 per cent reduction, while the EBITDA was down by 17.6 per cent to CHF327m (€267m). Underlying cement deliveries were 1.7 per cent ahead at 18.5Mt, of which 12.54Mt, or 67.8 per cent was in India.

The two Holcim subsidiaries ACC Limited and Ambuja Cements saw volumes recover by 0.9 per cent to 6.48Mt and by 1.7 per cent to 6.06Mt respectively. In local currency, Ambuja Cements increased turnover by 3.7 per cent and EBITDA by 6.1 per cent, while ACC raised turnover by 2.1 per cent but the EBITDA declined by 13.6 per cent.

Holcim Indonesia suffered from very unfavourable weather conditions, but still managed to increase volumes in cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete. Cement volumes in The Philippines increased by 13.4 per cent though the average price was marginally lower. The next biggest increases came from Bangladesh with +6.4 per cent and Malaysia with +6.0 per cent.

The underlying increase in Australia was 5.3 per cent and in New Zealand it was 2.1 per cent. Area aggregates shipments improved by 3.8 per cent to 6.0Mt with volumes in Australia being 1.4 per cent ahead. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries advanced by 1.5 per cent to 2.5Mm³. 

Europe
Holcim's European turnover, helped by a mild winter, rose from 23.9 per cent to 29.0 per cent of the group total and rose by 14.8 per cent to CHF1,184m (€968m) and the EBITDA jumped from CHF29m (€24m) to CHF99m (€81m). Cement deliveries rose by 20.1 per cent to 5.2Mt, aggregates shipments improved by 8.7 per cent to 15.7Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 17.1 per cent to 2.7Mm³ and the increase was 24.2 per cent in asphalt, which is mainly in Great Britain, to 1.3Mt.

The strongest volume gains in cement in this seasonally weakest quarter were seen in Germany (+61.2 per cent), Hungary (+53.7 per cent), France (+44.8 per cent), Bulgaria (+42.6 per cent) and Slovakia (+40.1 per cent). Volumes were lower in Azerbaijan (-22.3 per cent) and Italy (-10.8 per cent).  Prices were notably lower in France (-8.6 per cent), Belgium (-8.4 per cent), Spain (-7.4 per cent) and Russia (-6.8 per cent) but showed good increases in Hungary and Rumania.

Aggregates shipments were notably better in Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland, but fell in Rumania, Italy and Spain. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries were ahead in all countries except for Croatia and Serbia.

Latin America
The Latin American turnover declined by 12.5 per cent to CHF723m (€591m) and the EBITDA fell by 14.3 per cent to CHF211m (€172m). Cement deliveries improved by 1.5 per cent to 6.0Mt, but aggregates shipments fell by 22.0 per cent to 2.1 tonnes and ready-mixed concrete deliveries were down by 20.0 per cent to 1.7Mm³.

Holcim Apasco in Mexico saw volumes decline in all the three main product categories, notably in aggregates and concrete, which were restructured last year, and prices weakened in cement. Brazilian cement and aggregates volumes benefited from good demand in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, increasing by 11.5 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively, but pricing was weaker because of a less favourable mix. Ready-mixed concrete volumes were lower in response to last year's plant closures.  Cement volumes improved in Chile, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Colombia and Ecuador, but declined in Argentina and in El Salvador.

North America
In North America, the harsh winter had a negative effect on the results. The turnover advanced by just 0.7 per cent to CHF444m (€363m) but the seasonal loss at the EBITDA level did decline4 by 44.5 per cent to CHF10m (€8m). Cement deliveries did increase by 2.5 per cent to 2Mt, with US volumes increasing by 2.8 per cent, helped by good demand in Texas, and Canadian shipments by 0.6 per cent. Prices did improve by 3.5 per cent in the USA and by 1.5 per cent in Canada.

Sales of aggregates declined by 4.2 per cent to 5Mt, with prices showing some improvement. US volumes improved by 1.5 per cent while prices being 2.8 per cent higher, while in Canada volumes were 17.2 per cent lower but the average price improved by 5.1 per cent. North American ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 11.6 per cent to 1.2Mm³, but the asphalt volume did show some recovery and deliveries were 16.7 per cent higher at 0.1Mt.

Africa and the Middle East
Turnover in Africa and the Middle East recovered by 1.7 per cent to CHF206m (€168m) and the EBITDA improved by 7.8 per cent to CHF67m (€55m).

Cement shipments in the region improved by 11.8 per cent to 2.0Mt. Morocco increased cement shipments and also sold clinker to the Ivory Coast, while shipments of aggregates were lower, there was a modest increase in ready-mixed concrete deliveries. Cement volumes in the Lebanon improved but ready-mixed concrete deliveries were notably lower. Cement deliveries in La Réunion were down in double figures. Cement sales in Ivory Coast and Guinea declined by 4.2 per cent and 7.1 per cent respectively.

Aggregates shipments were down by a further eight per cent to 0.4Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 10.4 per cent to 0.2Mm³.