The Group's result from current operations before depreciation and amortisation (RCOBD) rose on a like-for-like basis by 26% to €1.72bn. HeidelbergCement's result from current operations (RCO) was up 57% like-for-like to €1.084bn. The Group's net debt down also fell €1.5bn in the analysed half year.
"HeidelbergCement has closed the first half of 2021 with an excellent result," said Dr Dominik von Achten, chairman of the Group's managing board. "We have achieved record values in relevant key figures. Our Beyond 2020 strategy is taking effect: we are making good progress in all areas. Against this background, we have announced an extensive share buyback programme for the first time in the company's history. With this, we want our shareholders to participate appropriately in the economic success of our company."
The good sales volume development of Q1 2021 continued in the second quarter. In the first half of the year, total sales volumes increased significantly in all business lines compared to the previous year. Group-wide cement and clinker sales volumes increased by 9.7% to 61.8 million tonnes (last year: 56.3). Deliveries of aggregates rose by 7.5% compared to the previous year to 145 million tonnes (previous year: 134.8). Ready-mixed concrete sales volumes increased by 8.3% to 23.5 million m³ (last year: 21.7). Asphalt deliveries increased by 11.5% to 4.8 million tonnes (previous year: 4.3).
HeidelbergCement achieved an Important step forward in portfolio optimisation In May 2021 by signing an agreement on the US$2.3bn sale of Lehigh Hanson's cement, aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, and asphalt business activities in the US West Region (California, Arizona, Oregon, and Nevada) to the US company Martin Marietta Materials. The closing of the transaction is expected in the second half of 2021. The aim is to expand vertical integration in the four key regions of Canada, the Midwest, the Northeast and the South through selected acquisitions and capacity expansion projects.
The Group took a leadership role on the path to carbon neutrality in July when signing the Business Ambition for 1.5°C Commitment, a global initiative led by SBTi in cooperation with UN Global Compact and the We Mean Business coalition, which aims to reduce CO₂ emissions to net-zero by 2050 at the latest. Additionally, the company is joining the global Race To Zero campaign, which aims to build positive momentum to transition to a low-carbon economy ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in November 2021. By joining these initiatives, HeidelbergCement underlines its leadership role in the cement industry on the path to carbon neutrality.
Due to its very good operational development in the first six months of 2021, HeidelbergCement is raising its full-year outlook. The Group now expects a strong increase in results from current operations before depreciation and amortisation. It results from current operations, excluding exchange rate and consolidation effects in each case, for the 2021 financial year. HeidelbergCement had previously anticipated a slight increase in these key figures.
"The market environment in the construction sector is and remains good," said Dr. von Achten. "We see continued good demand in private residential construction and infrastructure in all regions. At the same time, raw material, energy and transportation costs have increased significantly in recent months. Nevertheless, in the short and medium-term, we expect the various country-specific economic stimulus programmes to continue to positively impact construction activity and thus on our sales volumes. We are optimistic about the future."