HeidelbergCement improves margins and profit

HeidelbergCement improves margins and profit
Published: 18 March 2016

Tagged Under: HeidelbergCement Results Germany 

HeidelbergCement's turnover increased by 6.7 per cent last year to EUR13,465m and the EBITDA improved by a 14.2 per cent to EUR2612.7m and the trading profit advanced by 15.7 per cent to EUR1846.1m.

After a 14.3 per cent reduction in net interest payments to EUR396.3m, the pre-tax profit rose by 41.1 per cent to EUR1313.4m and the net attributable profit jumped by 64.7 per cent to EUR800.1m after a 54.3 per cent higher tax charge and a minorities charge of 9.2 per cent lower at EUR183.1m. The dividend is being increased by 73.3 per cent to EUR1.30 per share.

Net debt at the end of the year was 24.0 per cent lower at EUR5,286m and the gearing ratio fell from 48.8 per cent to 33.1 per cent. Capital investment declined by 10.9 per cent to EUR1,002m and is expected to amount to around EUR1100m in 2016, of which some EUR500m should represent maintenance expenditure.

Cementitious sales
Group sales of cementitious materials eased by 0.9 per cent to 81.1Mt, but the aggregates volume advanced by 2.3 per cent to 249.2Mt. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries were ahead by a marginal 0.3 per cent to 36.7Mm³, while shipments of asphalt contracted by two per cent to 9.1Mt. The international trading turnover declined by 1.6 per cent to EUR1060m and EBITDA was off by 6.6 per cent to EUR25m as cement and clinker volumes declined by 3.6 per cent to 14.6Mt, with the most important destinations being Kenya, Ghana, Bangladesh and North and South America. The international trade in coal and petcoke was 11.9 per cent higher at 7.2Mt.

Northern & western European
The northern & western European business increased turnover by 4.6 per cent to EUR4196m and the EBITDA advanced by 19.7 per cent to EUR672m and the trading profit rose by 31.9 per cent to EUR434m. Shipments of cementitious materials eased by one per cent to 21.40Mt while deliveries of aggregates declined by 2.1 per cent to 63.84Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries were off by 0.3 per cent to 12.96Mm³ and sales of asphalt were 3.3 per cent lower at 2.88Mt. Demand for construction materials continued to rise in Great Britain and in Germany better pricing led to a higher EBITDA in spite of a slight reduction in volumes. Belgium is beginning to see a recovery and The Netherlands is expected to follow in 2016. Cement volumes continued to decline in Norway but improved in Sweden.

Eastern Europe & Central Asia
In eastern Europe & Central Asia turnover declined by 7.2 per cent to EUR1,097m, partially reflecting the drop in the value of the Russian, Ukranian and Kazakh currencies. The EBITDA declined by a further 9.9 per cent to EUR207m and the trading profit came off by 11.9 per cent to EUR114m. The cementitious volume declined by 3.3 per cent to 16.55Mt while aggregates shipments improved by 9.9 per cent to 22.42Mt and ready-mixed concrete staged a 15.2 per cent advance to 3.39Mm³. Prices for cement in particular, were under pressure in several markets and devaluations had a further negative effect in some countries, while good growth was recorded in Romania and the Czech Republic.

The North American turnover increased by 22.9 per cent to EUR3746m but excluding the exchange rate the improvement was a more modest 6.7 per cent. EBITDA improved by 35.9 per cent to EUR829m and the trading profit rose by 41.3 per cent to EUR583m. Shipments of cementitious materials improved by 1.9 per cent to 12.31Mt and sales of aggregates were ahead by 5.5 per cent to 116.60Mt. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 2.7 per cent higher at 6.43Mm³, while sales of asphalt were ahead by 3.5 per cent to 3.68Mt. Cement prices were ahead in all US regions, while in Canada demand dropped in Alberta because of the fall in the oil price.

Asia-Pacific
The Asia-Pacific turnover came off by 1.5 per cent to EUR2,775m but in constant currency would have shown a 5.6 per cent drop, and the EBITDA was 3.2 per cent lower at EUR719m. The trading profit eased by 5.6 per cent to EUR588m. Cement and clinker volumes declined by 4.5 per cent to 23.51Mt while shipments of aggregates were 4.6 per cent lower at 35.95Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries eased by 4.3 per cent to 10.89Mm³ while asphalt sales fell by 9.7 per cent to 2.05Mt. Improved results were seen in Bangladesh thanks to lower clinker costs. Indian and Indonesian volumes were under pressure, but Australian volumes and margins improved.

In the Africa and Mediterranean region the turnover improved by 10.8 per cent to EUR1008m and the EBITDA rose by 22.5 per cent to EUR260m while the trading profit advanced by a little more modest 17.8 per cent to EUR216m. Shipments of cementitious materials were 15.3 per cent higher at 7.43Mt and the aggregates volume improved by 2.6 per cent to 11.13Mt. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries showed a 0.9 per cent advance at 3.03Mm³ while the asphalt business in Israel saw a 2.7 per cent volume improvement to 0.41Mt.Tanzania and Togo both saw higher volumes again and improved results, but Ghana suffered from increased competitive pressures and currency depreciation. Pricing improved in Turkey, as did export volumes. In Spain the market improved and the outlook for 2016 is positive.

Management guidance
Looking ahead, the HeidelbergCement management is expecting volume growth in most areas apart from Russia and the Ukraine, with volumes in Central Europe being boosted by EU measures. Volumes in Great Britain and in Germany should improve, while being at least stable in the Benelux and in the Nordic area. In the USA, demand is expected to grow on the back of an improving construction market, but western Canada is more difficult. The outlook for Indonesia is positive, but in China volumes are expected to continue to decline. The overall outlook for Africa and the Mediterranean area remains positive. The proposed acquisition of control of Italcementi is expected to happen later this year.