Italcementi's first half turnover recovered by 2.1% to €2452m, but the running EBITDA declined by 15.4% to €372.1m. The trading profit fell by 24.2% to €158m, but a 60.6% reduction in financial charges to €26.5m helped to reduce the reduction in the pre-tax profit to just 1.8% to €134m. With a gain, rather than a loss, from discontinued operations, the net attributable profit jumped from €0.4m to €115m. Net debt at the end of June was 8.2% lower than a year earlier at €2256.7m, giving a gearing of 46.5% compared with 48.3%, in spite of the re-consolidation of Calcestruzzi. Cement and clinker shipments in the period declined by 0.3% to 27.4Mt and underlying deliveries of aggregates were of by 5% to 19.87Mt, but underlying ready-mixed concrete volumes improved by 1.7% to 7.38Mm³.

The underlying western European turnover improved by 3.5% to €1402.1m, but the EBITDA fell by 20.6% to €152.5m. Cement and clinker volumes improved by 3.2% to 9.98Mt, while underlying aggregates shipments were 4.8% lower at 18.19Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries, on the same basis, were 3.5% higher at 5.52Mm³. Italian cement and clinker volume declined by 0.2%, having been ahead in the first quarter. Cement prices started to recover around the turn of the year. The turnover advanced by 29.6% to €463.7m, which allows for the re-consolidation of Calcestruzzi from the beginning of the year and a sharply higher EBITDA loss of €16.3m was incurred. France and Belgium increased turnover by 9.5% to €844.3m but the EBITDA declined by 6.3% to €156.9m. Including exports, cement volumes rose by 9.9% in France and by 15.9% in Belgium, but average prices declined in a competitive environment. Spanish turnover fell by 35.8% to €83.6m and the EBITDA dropped by 39% to €11.1m. Domestic cement volumes fell by 10.3%, but thanks to exports, the overall tonnage declined by just 2.3%. The much smaller Greek business saw turnover fall by 35.7% to €23.8m and the EBITDA plummeted 95.6% to €0.4m.
The Middle East and Bulgaria generated an underlying turnover 12.3% lower at €556.1m, with the EBITDA falling by 14.7m to €185m. Egypt remains the largest contributor, but the political unrest early in the year and substantial additional cement capacity led to a 14.1% reduction in cement sales. The Egyptian turnover came off by 29.5% to €313.9m and the EBITDA fell by 35.1% to €86.8m, with cement prices in decline. Moroccan domestic deliveries increased by 4.3% in spite new competitive capacity and including clinker sales volume rose by 6%. Turnover in Morocco increased by 3.5% to €180.5m and the EBITDA by 17.4% to €78.2m. In the rest of the Black Sea and Middle Eastern markets, turnover dropped by 48.6% to €62m, reflecting the sale of most of the Turkish operations, but the EBITDA more than doubled to  €20.6m. In Bulgaria, cement volumes fell by 21.7% but profits were helped by a €7m gain on the sale of emission rights, while turnover dropped by 25.48% to €20m. The one remaining cement company in Turkey produced a turnover of €7m, while in Kuwait turnover rose by 8.2% to €30m, as cement volumes improved by 11.4%.

Asian cement sales improved by 7.1% to 5.8Mt, with turnover rising by 23.1% to €262m and the EBITDA recovering by 55.7% to €53.1m. The Indian turnover rose by 41.8% to €116.7m and the EBITDA jumped 74.3% to €33.8m. Additional production capacity helped to produce a 16.3% increase in cement and clinker volume and prices rose. The Thai turnover advanced by 20.9% to €104m and the EBITDA jumped from €7.3m to €16.7m. Domestic deliveries and exports improved by 6.6% and prices showed a good advance. In China, volumes were off by 1.4% and prices fell because of additional capacity coming on-stream, leading to an 8% reduction in turnover to €23m and the EBITDA dropped by 77% to just €1m. In Kazakhstan cement volumes declined by 7.6% in a rising market because of increased supply and the EBITDA was halved to €2m.

The North American turnover declined by 7.4% to €171.9m and the loss at the EBITDA level increased by 74.1% to  €9.4m. Although, at last, cement shipments did show a modest advance of 1.6% to 1.8Mt, pricing suffered from severely competitive pressures and declined further. The international cement and clinker trading activities saw volumes fall by 38% to 1.33Mt as the considerable imports into Egypt ceased and exports from Thailand were cut back to supply the domestic market. This gave rise to a 29% fall in turnover to €91.3m and the EBITDA dropped by 46% to €6.1m.