Volume growth in the Czech Republic, as well as a slight recovery in Russia, were the bright spots for Buzzi Unicem in a quarter otherwise hit by adverse winter weather and an early Easter Holiday in Europe. Cement volumes fell marginally by 1.6% to 5.1 million t, while sales revenues were hit by appreciation of the euro to finish the quarter down 8.4% at €539.1 million.
“The exceptional wave of snow and ice that hit the USA, a prolonged rainy period in Europe, and fewer working days compared to the first quarter of the previous year, including the Holy Week period, affected the shipments in most countries where we operate,” the company said. “In this context, the growth achieved in the Czech Republic can be considered to be encouraging, together with the progressive (slight) recovery in Russia.”
Buzzi Unicem’s Italian business also reported growth following the consolidation of Cementizillo into the results, although like-for-like results would have been down. Pricing did show signs of recovery in Buzzi’s home market, after five years of decline, a result of recent consolidation in the sector.
Consolidation in Germany, where Buzzi Unicem subsidiary Dyckerhoff recently purchased Siebel & Söhne, the owner of a full-cycle cement plant in Erwitte, will also benefit the company going forward. Last month, the Italian company said it would close the Erwitte plant to all “more efficient production capacity utilisation of the Dyckerhoff plants, which are already equipped with the best process and environmental technologies.”
Given the seasonal volatility of the first quarter, the company cautioned against reading too much into the slowdown.
“Usually the results of the first six months, when the influence of seasonality will be milder, allow to evaluate more precisely the expectations for the current years, compared to the indications disclosed at the end of March,” the company said. “At the moment therefore we consider it appropriate to confirm the outlook that was assumed with the approval of the 2017 financial statements.”
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/18052018/some-silver-linings-in-an-otherwise-gloomy-1q18-for-buzzi/