Buzzi Unicem has reported a slight improvement in 2Q15 cement and clinker sales, despite the continued downturn in Italy, uncertainty in Russia and Ukraine, and a downward trend in Central Europe. Net sales in 1H15 reached €1238 million, up from €1181 million in 1H14, while EBITDA was also up by more than 20% at €166.6 million.
1H15 cement sales grew 1.6% y/y at 11.8 million t. While the performance was mixed across group markets, progress in some areas, such as the US, offset unfavourable situations in others. Exchange rate variances had a net positive impact, thanks to the strengthening of the US$. On a like-for-like basis, EBITDA would have increased by 12.7%. Profit before tax was positive at €54.1 million (up from negative €11.1 million in 1H14). Cash flow for the half year stood at €132.9 million, up from €103.6 million in 1H14. Net debt was up €56.9 million to €1119.7 million. Capital expenditure in the first half was €152.9 million. Investments in property, plant and equipment totalled €82.4 million, all related to the erection of the new production line in Maryneal, Texas.
The first half of 2015 featured very satisfactory results in the United States, amplified by the dollar strengthening, which were able to offset the persistent weakness of Italy and the expected slowdown occurred in Russia and Ukraine, also as a consequence of the particularly negative currency effect. In those markets where the volume and price trend was less dynamic, Ebitda to sales margin was driven by stable or decreasing energy and commodity costs, as well as by the projects for the continuous improvement of capacity utilization, work productivity and efficiency of the organisational structure in general. In the rest of the year the development of the major operating variables (demand, prices, costs) will continue to be rather different across the group’s markets, with Italy expected to be a down point, and the US a strong market. Central Europe should be in line with the previous year, while Poland and the Czech Republic are expected to develop favourably. The outlook for Ukraine is in line with the achievements of the first half. The group expects full year recurring EBITDA of around €450 million, an improvement on 2014.
Adapted from press release by Katherine Guenioui
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/05082015/buzzi-unicem-reports-1h15-improvement-272/