Holcim Group sales increase by 2.2% in Q1
First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
Due to good economic conditions in Asia and Latin America and growing demand for construction materials in North America and Africa Middle East consolidated cement deliveries from the Holcim Group increased in the first quarter of 2012.
Higher shipments were achieved particularly by the group companies in India, the US, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia as well as in Russia and Azerbaijan.
Holcim says consolidated net sales increased by 2.2% to CHF 4.8 billion. In absolute terms, Asia Pacific ranked first with net sales of CHF 2.2 billion.
Operating EBITDA was almost stable with a decline of 1.1% to CHF 745 million.
Net income of CHF 116 million almost reached the previous year’s level.
The negative weather effects in Europe could be almost entirely absorbed.
With the exception of Europe, all group regions performed better. The group grew like-for-like by 5.5%.
Due to the seasonal pattern of the first quarter, cash flow from operating activities amounted to a negative CHF 474 million, an improvement of 11.8% compared to the previous year’s reporting period.
The last 12 months have seen net financial debt decrease 4.9% to CHF 11.8 billion.
The group says higher shipments were achieved particularly by the group companies in India, the US, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia as well as in Russia and Azerbaijan.
“However, in contrast to last year’s mild climate, the harsh winter brought many construction sites in Western and Eastern Europe to a temporary standstill in February. Hence, sales volumes decreased in this group region in all segments and impacted first quarter results.
“Holcim achieved better prices in various markets. Overall, the group achieved an operating EBITDA close to last year, and like-for-like operating EBITDA growth reached 5.5%,” says Holcim.
Consolidated cement sales increased by 6.2% to 35.2 million tonnes, and deliveries of aggregates were down by 7.8% to 31.6 million tonnes.
Volumes of ready-mix concrete decreased by 0.3% to 10.4 million cubic metres, and asphalt sales declined by 18.4% to 1.4 million tonnes.
With shipments of cement up by more than 1.8 million tonnes, Asia Pacific was well ahead in terms of volume, mainly due to India. In aggregates, group region Africa Middle East achieved the highest growth rate.
In ready-mix concrete, North America recorded the highest volume growth, mainly due to the full incorporation of Lattimore Materials in Texas in March of last year, and the first-time consolidation of Ennstone in Virginia in November 2011.
“A positive development is the fact that Holcim was able to mostly pass on cost increases through higher sales prices in all segments and in all group regions, with the exception of Africa Middle East.”
Holcim expects demand for building materials to rise in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, as well as in Russia and Azerbaijan in 2012. A slight improvement for North America can also be expected.
In Europe, demand should remain stable, provided that the situation is not undermined by further systemic shocks.
“Holcim’s approach to new investments will be cautious and it expects that the group will achieve organic growth at operating EBITDA level,” says the group.