HeidelbergCement - May 2019

HeidelbergCement's first-quarter turnover improved by 16.9 per cent, helped by better weather, to EUR4238m, while the EBITDA rose by 58.6 per cent to EUR396m. The trading result was a EUR60m profit compared with a EUR16m loss in 1Q18. Group cement and clinker shipments improved by 1.6 per cent to 28.58Mt. The international trading activities of HC Trading saw trading turnover improve by 57.3 per cent to EUR567Mt, but EBITDA came off by 6.5 per cent to EUR9m. Aggregates shipments recovered by 5.7 per cent to 62.52Mt, as a result of a milder winter across much of the northern hemisphere, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 10.8 per cent to 11.34Mm³, and the asphalt volume improved by 13.8 per cent to 1.85Mt. 

The western and southern European turnover improved by 15.2 per cent to EUR1178m, reflecting the less harsh winter and at the EBITDA level there was a swing from a EUR10m loss back to a EUR56m profit. The cement and clinker deliveries improved by 7.3 per cent to 6.88Mt. Prices were increased in January to compensate for higher costs and also allowed for improved margins. Aggregates shipments were ahead by 16.9 per cent to 20.02Mt, with the margin jumping from six per cent to 14.1 per cent. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries recovered by 17.3 per cent to 4.28Mm³.   

The Northern and Eastern Europe & Central Asia sales region reported an 11.7 per cent recovery in turnover to EUR574m, while EBITDA jumped by 120.3 per cent to EUR57m. Cement deliveries were ahead by 7.1 per cent to 4.45Mt while the EBITDA margin advanced from 6.1 per cent to 7.6 per cent. Domestic volumes were higher in eastern Europe on the back of housing and infrastructure spending, but in the Nordic countries delayed infrastructure spending and a long winter depressed demand. In aggregates, volumes recovered by 9.3 per cent to 8.32Mt and the margin went from negative territory to a positive 17 per cent. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries recovered by 10.1 per cent to 1.34Mm³, with margins improving to 2.3 per cent from negative territory.

The Asia-Pacific turnover improved by nine per cent to EUR815m. EBITDA rose by 12.8 per cent to EUR162m, while the trading profit was ahead by 30.7 per cent to EUR98m. Cement and clinker volumes declined by 1.7 per cent to 8.95Mt, as EBITDA margins improved from 17.2 per cent to 19.9 per cent. Aggregates margins advanced from 20.4 per cent to 26.7 per cent, while the volume declined by 9.2 per cent to 9.76Mt. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 7.3 per cent to 2.73Mm³. Indocement in Indonesia saw continued strong volumes and margins improving in spite of high coal prices. India saw strong pricing performance in the centre and some improvement in the south. Thailand is looking for improvements in both prices and exports, but domestic prices are weaker. In Australia higher infrastructure volumes made up for weaker housebuilding activity. 

North American turnover rose by 13.9 per cent to EUR829m and EBITDA recovered strongly and rose by 93.8 per cent to EUR31m, with a EUR54m loss being recorded at the trading level. The cement EBITDA margin recovered from 3.5 to 6.1 per cent and the volume was ahead by one per cent to 3.03Mt. Aggregates shipments were 7.9 per cent higher at 22.59Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries did improve by six per cent to 1.47Mm³. The ready-mixed concrete and asphalt margin loss was reduced from 7.3 to 5.9 per cent. Good growth was seen in the north and south, but the west coast and Canada were badly affected by the weather. 

In Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, turnover was 0.9 per cent ahead at EUR429m, but EBITDA declined by 15.5 per cent to EUR96m. The cement and clinker volume was off by 0.7 per cent to 5.08Mt, while the aggregates volume fell by 28.3 per cent to 2.25Mt. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries recovered by 7.2 per cent to 1.37Mm³. There was a strong contribution from sub-Saharan Africa, but a difficult quarter was seen in Egypt.