Buzzi Unicem’s Board of Directors has released the company’s preliminary figures for the financial year 2015.
The group’s sales in the geographical areas of presences during 2015 showed a favourable variance in the United States of America, due to the strengthening recovery, and in Eastern Europe, achieved thanks to the additional contribution from the Korkino cement plant in Russia and the recovery of the market positioning in Poland. Conversely moderate decreases were posted in Italy and Central Europe.
Recovery in international trade during the second half of the year was lower than expected, especially in mature countries, with the growth trend for 2015 as a whole only half of what was previously estimated. During the third quarter, economic activity was stronger in more mature countries, especially in the euro area. Growth pace was higher than expected in the United States despite signs of a slowdown in the last months of the year, starting from manufacturing. In the Eurozone growth was frailer, with the rapid weakening of the drive from exports, which was gradually offset by the contribution from internal demand.The main emerging economies had a weak economic situation, with disparate trends between countries: signs of slowdown in China were strongest with a further shifting towards consumption and services and a resulting deceleration in investment and imports; in Brazil the recession phase deepened while in Russia the contraction in output was less evident and India underwent a more marked expansion phase.
The boosts from exports in Italy weakened in 2015, and the recovery is proceeding gradually. In the US, where expansion continued, the Federal Reserve initiated the rise of the official interest rates, motivated by the significant improvement in the labour market, without negative repercussions, and the construction sector confirmed a positive growth, especially in the commercial and residential category. In Germany construction investments were back to normal, after the increase of last year. The trends of Eastern European countries confirmed diversified trading conditions: in Russia the recession situation caused a decrease in the construction activity level with a resulting contraction in cement consumption; in Poland, where the economic growth and the investment level in the construction sector continued to be favourable, our sales showed a regular and positive trend; in the Czech Republic the phase of economic recovery continued with an improvement of production levels for the building industry; in Ukraine finally, in a context of strong recession and decrease in investments, the activity level in the western regions (where our group operates) maintained a better trend compared with the eastern area.
Cement sales of the group totalled 25.6 million tons, +1.7% compared to 2014. Ready-mix concrete output, equal to 11.9 million cubic meters, were slightly lower than the previous year (-0.9%). Consolidated net sales increased by 6.2%, from €2,506 to €2,662 million. Thanks to the strengthening of the dollar, which was partly offset by the devaluation of the Russian ruble and the Ukrainian hryvnia, foreign exchange fluctuations had a favourable impact of €101 million. Changes in scope were favourable for €29 million. Therefore like for like net sales would have increased by 1.0%.
Net debt as at 31 December 2015 amounted to €1030 million, down €33 million on €1063 million at year-end 2014. The improvement of the net financial position was achieved thanks to cash flow from operations, although the project for the expansion of the Maryneal, TX cement plant required a capital outlay of €163 million during the year.
Adapted from press release by Rebecca Bowden
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/15022016/buzzi-unicem-2015-preliminary-results-504/