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CRH European cement volumes show some positive trends

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World Cement,

CRH’s Europe Heavyside business, which includes cement, as well as construction aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, and asphalt, reported earnings level with the previous year in 1H17 at €351 million, as trading benefitted from “stabilising trends” across Europe.

“In Ireland, construction activity continues to grow in both residential and non-residential sectors, with strong volume increases in cement, ready-mixed concrete, and aggregates,” the company said. “Operating profit was well ahead, despite price pressure in a competitive environment.“

Increased demand in the residential sector, also pushed demand for cement up in France. Stronger macroeconomics conditions boosted cement demand in Spain and Poland, while infrastructure helped drive up cement demand in Romania.

Cement shipments also rose in Finland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Serbia, while higher pricing in Ukraine offset a fall in volumes, resulting in higher year-on-year operating profit.

Market were challenges in Switzerland, where very cold weather at the start of the year and a competitive market environment saw a fall in cement shipments and pricing – with lower year-on-year operating profit. German cement shipments were also lower than 2016, although pricing remained in line with the previous year.

In the UK, cement volumes were 4% down on 2016, when shipments had benefitted from “acquisition-related commercial arrangements”. Take these out of the equation, and volumes were “in line” with 2016, the company said. Cement prices increased, however, leaving operating profit before restructuring costs up on last year.

CRH delivers around 26 million tpy of cement into Europe, making the company on of the top ten European cement companies. It has market-leading positions in Finland, Ireland, Slovakia, the UK, where it operates as Tarmac, and Ukraine. The Europe Heavyside business employs over 27 000 people at close to 1250 location.

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