Buzzi Unicem

Buzzi Unicem's first half turnover advanced by 9.1% to €1339.4m, but the EBITDA declined by 3.2% to €183.1m. For the full year, however, Buzzi Unicem is expecting the running EBITDA to show an improvement over last year on the back of an anticipated better second half. The first-half trading profit was down by 14.5% to €62.5m but the interest charge was 7.8% lower at €46.0m, giving a pre-tax profit 38.6% lower at €16.1m. After a tax charge 54.9% lower at €4.3m and a minorities charge 3.5% higher at €12.2m, there was a net attributable loss of €0.3m compared with a profit of €5.1m. Net debt at the end of June was 0.2% higher at €1265.3m, giving a gearing level of 47.3%. Capital expenditure was down by 52.6% to €79.2m, of which €25.7m related capacity increases.

Group cement deliveries increased by 11.2% to 13.4Mt, but in spite of higher energy costs, the prices achieved were lower in all markets with the exception of Ukraine and Mexico. The group ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 12.6% to 7.4Mm³

Cement and clinker volume in Italy came off by 1.8% in the six months, but the average price achieved was down by 5% in spite of an improvement early in the year and a price increase in June. In ready-mixed concrete volumes were down by 5.7% and prices by 1.7%. Buzzi Unicem's Italian turnover declined by 5.8% to €290.2m and the EBITDA dropped by 83.2% to €6.9m, with the contribution from the sale of emission rights declining from €28m to €13.5m.

In Germany, Dyckerhoff's turnover rose by 27.3% to €308.3m, helped by the inclusion of the SIBO group. Helped by a €7.9m contribution from the sale of emission rights, the EBITDA improved by 37.8% to €44.5m. Cement shipments increased by 19.5% to 2.65Mt. Luxembourg cement and clinker volumes rose by 30.3%, but the average price was lower because of a much higher export element. The turnover rose by 33% to €60.4m, with the EBITDA, helped by €4.9m of emission receipts, was substantially ahead at €14.26m, excluding a €7.1m property gain. The Dutch turnover was 11.5% higher at €58.1m and the EBITDA trebled to €1.8m.

The Polish turnover increased by 17.1% to €65.6m and the EBITDA by 18.3% to €15m as cement volumes increased by 6.7% to 0.7Mt and prices were stable. The Czech and Slovak turnover rose by 26% to €80.3m and the EBITDA was 27.5% ahead at €15m. Cement volumes rose by 56.9% to 0.47Mt, including shipments to Poland, but prices weakened. The Ukrainian turnover rose by 30.9% to €42.4m and the EBITDA returned to positive numbers with a €1m profit, thanks to switching the kiln fuel from gas to coal. Cement volumes rose by 24.9% to 0.76Mt and prices recovered by 9.5% in local currency. Russian turnover rose by 35% to €75.1m, and the EBITDA improved by 11.3% to €20.5m. Cement shipments increased by 43.8% to 1.09Mt, but local currency prices, though now improving, were 5.4% lower than in the corresponding period last year.

The United States operations of the Buzzi Unicem group saw a marginal overall volume increase of 0.1% in cement and of 0.2% in ready-mixed concrete, with distribution being disrupted by heavy rain and flooding in the second quarter. Average selling prices declined by 6.7% in local currency and efforts at increasing prices from April only had a limited effect. Turnover declined by 2.8% to US$363.3m, which on translation converts into an 8% reduction to €258.9m. At the EBITDA level there was a 55.1% drop to €15.8m (US$22.1m) as the underlying margin dropped from 12.3% to 6.1% in response to falling prices and rising energy costs.

The 50%-controlled Mexican associate Corporación Moctezuma increased cement shipments by 13.9% and prices in local currency improved by 3.2%. Deliveries of ready-mixed concrete, on the other hand, declined by 3%, but ready-mixed concrete prices improved by 5.1%. A revaluation of the Mexican currency boosted the results on conversion and turnover improved by 16.4% to €118.3m and the EBITDA rose by a more modest 6% to €41.4m, reflecting higher costs.