HeidelbergCement shows strong growth in Great Britain

HeidelbergCement shows strong growth in Great Britain
06 November 2014

HeidelbergCement's turnover improved by 2.7 per cent to €10,127m in the first nine months of the 2014 and the EBITDA was 5.7 per cent ahead at €1794m. At the trading level, the profit increased by 10.9 per cent to €1241m and after a net interest charge 12.1 per cent higher at €463m, an associates contribution 14 per cent lower at €17m and a lower net exceptional items contribution, the pre-tax profit declined by 15.3 per cent to €803m, giving a the net attributable profit 33.5 per cent down at €599m.

Net debt at the end of September was 3.1 per cent lower at €7,629m, giving a gearing level of 54.7 per cent compared with 60.8 per cent a year ago. Capital investment in the period was 19.8 per cent lower at €733m and should around €1,200m for the full year, half of which would be for expansion investments. 

Group cement and clinker deliveries rose by 5.4 per cent to 62.87Mt, while aggregates shipments were 4.9 per cent higher at 180.76Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 4.7 per cent to 27.05Mm³. Sales of asphalt rose by 13.9 per cent to 6.95Mt. Turnover from international trading activities increased by 16.6 per cent to €764m and the EBITDA improved by 30.7 per cent to €21m. The trading volume of HC Trading increased by some 13.3 per cent to 11.2Mt thanks to the strong first half, but there was a modest decline in the third quarter, while coal and coke trading volume rose by 32 per cent to 4Mt.

The northern & western European turnover improved by 7.7 per cent to €3,232m and the EBITDA advanced by 20.9 per cent to €466m. Cement and clinker volumes were up by 4.3 per cent to 16.28Mt, thanks to good demand in Great Britain and in the Baltic states. Volumes advances at a lower rate were seen in Germany, Belgium and Norway and were lower in Sweden because of higher imports.

Deliveries of aggregates advanced by 6.5 per cent to 48.84Mt, driven principally by strong British demand. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 7.6 per cent to 9.56Mm³ and asphalt deliveries, which are mainly in Great Britain, advanced by 22.9 per cent to 2.31Mt.  Building products, which are dominated by the former Hanson operations in Britain, saw turnover increase by 17.6 per cent to €385m as the margin rose from 11.0 per cent to 18.4 per cent thanks to improved volumes.

Turnover in eastern Europe & central Asia declined by 2.6 per cent to €918m, essentially exchange rate driven, while the EBITDA improved by 1.3 per cent to €189m, but on a comparable basis the advance as 11.1 per cent. Cement and clinker deliveries improved by 10.7 per cent to 13.25Mt, helped a less severe winter. Russian volumes were modestly ahead and prices were higher. Polish volumes were ahead be over 26 per cent on a weak comparative period, but pricing was down. Czech volumes were ahead, though the third quarter was a little weaker, and Romania showed seven per cent volume growth while Ukrainian shipments were 18 per cent lower because of the political situation. The new 0.8Mta integrated works in Kazakhstan is boosting volumes, but pricing is soft. Georgia recorded double digit volume growth. Aggregates shipments were 12 per cent ahead at 14.64m and ready-mixed concrete deliveries increased by 8.6 per cent to 2.11Mm³. 

North American turnover advanced by 5.9 per cent to €2,653m in spite of the weaker dollar and the EBITDA advanced by 9.9 per cent to €497m. Cement shipments increased 5.1 per cent to 9.19Mt, with the strongest growth being seen in the south, and prices showed a good improvement. The positive environment applied both to the USA and to those parts of Canada where the group is active and the turnover improved by 3.4 per cent to €831m, but margins were a little lower. Texas was the strongest cement market with 12 per cent volume growth and Georgia and Florida were also strong. October price increases of US$12 in Texas and US$6 in California. Sales of aggregates improved by 3.8 per cent to 82.14Mt with most areas increasing volumes and the turnover was 5.0 per cent ahead at €839m. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries showed an 8.3 per cent advance to 4.76m m³ and asphalt shipments staged a 17.4 per cent recovery to 2.66Mt. Building products turnover was 4.1 per cent ahead at €486m and the margin improved from 11.1 per cent to 14 per cent, with concrete pipes being particularly strong. 

The Asia-Pacific area saw turnover decline by 6.6 per cent to €2210m because of adverse exchange rate movements and the EBITDA came down by 9.4 per cent to €544m. Cement and clinker shipments were four per cent ahead at 19.38Mt. Cement Australia did notably better in the Sydney and Perth regions. Indonesian cement deliveries increased by 2.1 per cent and exports were lower. Prices in Indonesia were increased and some share was lost in a market that grew by 3.4 per cent. The Chinese associates saw strong growth in the north but volumes were lower in the south, though prices were ahead there too. Indian cement volumes and prices both improved. Volumes in Bangladesh showed good growth (+9 per cent), but prices weakened as competitive pressures increased. Aggregates shipments increased by four per cent to 27.86Mt, but ready-mixed concrete deliveries eased by 0.8 per cent to 8.35Mm³. Malaysian asphalt volumes improved by 7.3 per cent to 1.66Mt. 

African and Mediterranean turnover came off by five per cent to €679m but on a comparable basis there was an increase of 11.5 per cent. The EBITDA still rose by six per cent to €158m, with the underlying advance being 27.7 per cent. Cement shipments were 2.5 per cent lower at 4.80Mt and aggregates deliveries fell by 4.9 per cent to 8.17Mt, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries increased by three per cent to 2.27Mm³. The asphalt business in Israel saw a further 22.1 per cent volume reduction to 0.31Mt. The Turkish joint venture Akçansa boosted domestic cement deliveries by around 10 per cent and pricing has been strong, particularly in the Marmara region. In Ghana shipments rose by six per cent in a weak market as the currency depreciated by 40 per cent.


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