Buzzi Unicem - September 2019

Very mild weather conditions and favourable exchange rates delivered better-than-expected results for Buzzi Unicem in the first half of 2019. Consolidated sales were 13.6 per cent ahead YoY at EUR1518.7m, while EBITDA recorded a 26.9 per cent YoY advance to EUR288.6m. Overall cement sales volumes expanded by 7.1 per cent in the 1H19 to 13.9Mt, compared to 12.9Mt in the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, ready-mixed concrete (RMC) sales slid by 0.5 per cent YoY, to 5.8Mm3.

Sales of hydraulic binders and clinkers in Italy advanced by 3.9 per cent YoY in the 1H19, with prices also strengthening. On 1 July the company purchased a full-cycle cement plant in Tuscany, two grinding works in Piedmont and three concrete batching plants in the same regions, at an investment cost of about EUR80m. The cement business in Germany recorded an 11.2 per cent YoY increase in sales with average prices marginally improving. However, in Luxembourg and The Netherlands cement deliveries, including exports, fell by 4.6 per cent YoY in the first half of this year.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, cement sales in the 1H19 saw a decrease of 1.5 per cent, although average prices in the local currency recovered well. Cement volumes in Poland expanded well in the first quarter on the back of favourable weather conditions, but then returned to a more usual pace, ending the 1H19 up 6.3 per cent YoY. Meanwhile, in Ukraine cement volumes jumped 26.4 per cent YoY with average prices in the local currency also up due to inflation. In Russia cement sales advanced by 15 per cent YoY in the 1H19, mainly due to the expansion of the distribution network and a recovery in the oil well cement business.

Following a strong improvement in cement sales in the 1Q19, US volumes were significantly hindered in the following months due to distribution problems and non-scheduled production shutdowns following severe flooding along the Mississippi River. Despite the difficulties, by the end of the 1H19, volumes had improved 3.4 per cent YoY. In Mexico, cement deliveries weakened by 8.6 per cent, while in Brazil cement shipments were up 6.2 per cent, mainly driven by the North-East region.