Buzzi Unicem

Buzzi Unicem's first half turnover declined by 8.8% to €1,227.2m and the underlying EBITDA came off by 12.9% to €189.3m. For the full year, Buzzi Unicem is expecting its running EBITDA to be around 15% lower than in 2009. The trading profit fell by 46.6% to €73.0m and, after a 16.0% reduction in the interest charge to €49.9m, the pre-tax profit dropped by 67.3% to €26.3m. After incurring a higher tax rate, the net attributable profit was off by 69.5% to €5.1m. Net debt at the end of June was 4.4% higher at €1,262.8m, giving a gearing level of 41.6%. Capital expenditure was 16.9% lower at €1671.7m, of which €96.2m related to increases in capacity. Group cement deliveries were 4.0% lower at 12.1m tonnes, though some recovery was seen in the Ukraine, Russia and Luxembourg and marginally so also in Germany. The ready-mixed concrete volume decreased by 3.9% to 6.5m m³

The reduction in the Italian cement and clinker volume was relatively restricted at 4.0%, but the excess supply in a weak market gave rise to an 18.5% drop in the average selling price. The ready-mixed concrete volumes fell by 7.9% and prices declined by 3.7%. Buzzi Unicem's Italian turnover receded by 17.2% to €308.1m, but the EBITDA did improve by 21.6% to €40.9m thanks to a €28.0m gain on the sale of emission rights. But for that gain, the EBITDA would have fallen by 61.6% to €12.9m. Though energy costs did increase during the period, they were still lower than in the comparable period of last year.

In Germany, Dyckerhoff's turnover was 2.0% lower at €242.2m, but the EBITDA improved by 28.2% to €32.3m, helped by a €4.7m gain on the sale of emission rights. Cement shipments were 0.3% higher at 2.22m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 7.5% to 1.29m m³, but prices came off by 2.4% in cement and by 6.0% in ready-mixed concrete. At the end of July, Dyckerhoff took over 30 batching plants from its associate Sievert in North-Rhine Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. In Luxembourg, cement and clinker volumes improved by 13.2% and turnover rose by 14.5% to €45.4m, but the EBITDA remained stable at €5.6m. The Dutch turnover was 5.3% lower at €52.0m and the EBITDA fell by 33.3% to €0.6m, with volumes declining by 10.7% in ready-mixed concrete and by 0.8% in aggregates.

In Poland, turnover eased by 1.1% to €56.0m, while the EBITDA declined by 28.2% to €12.7m. Polish cement volumes were off by 1.7% to 0.66m tonnes, though some market share was gained, albeit at average prices that were 8.1% lower. Ready-mixed concrete volumes declined by 3.5% and prices fell by 13.3%. Czech and Slovak turnover fell by 20.4% to €63.8m and the EBITDA was 37.4% lower at €11.7m. Cement volumes fell by 25.6% to 0.28m tonnes and prices declined by 6.8%, while in ready-mixed concrete, volumes fell by 20.5% and prices by 3.2%, with Slovak prices being the weaker.  

The Ukrainian turnover was off by 3.4% to €32.4m while the EBITDA loss narrowed from €9.2m to €7.2m. Losses should reduce further as the kilns are now fired by domestic coal, rather than imported gas. Cement volumes were ahead by 4.4% to 0.61m tonnes, but prices weakened by 7.5%. Russian turnover improved by 12.3% to €55.7m, while the EBITDA declined by 12.4% to €18.5m. Cement sales increased by 14.4% in volume terms 0.76m tonnes, but local currency prices were off by 15.9%, with prices for oil well cement holding up better than for normal grey cement.

In the United States, Buzzi Unicem's first half cement deliveries fell by 10.8% and average dollar selling prices declined by 8.6%, in response to weak demand and plentiful supply. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries were off by 0.5%. Turnover declined by 14.1% to US$373.9m, which on translation converts into a 13.8% reduction to €281.4m. At the EBITDA level there was a 41.9% reduction to €35.1m (US$46.6m) as the underlying margin dropped from 20.3% to 12.3% in response to falling prices and volumes.   

The 50%-owned Mexican associate Corporaciòn Moctezuma saw its cement shipments decline by 6.1%, but prices in local currency edged ahead by 0.9%. Deliveries of ready-mixed concrete, on the other hand, increased by 10.1%, thanks to improved demand in Mexico City though ready-mixed concrete prices eased by 1.7%. A firmer Mexican currency did help the results and turnover advanced by 5.8% to €101.7m and the EBITDA improvement was a more modest 3.9% to €39.0m in response to higher costs.