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North America provides fertile ground for HeidelbergCement in 4Q17

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World Cement,

Sales of cement in HeidelbergCement’s North American business unit ticked up 3.5% in 4Q17 on a like-for-like basis to 4.1 million t. Over the year, cement volumes hit 16.4 million t, a like-for-like increase of 2.5%.

“In North America, the growth in demand for building materials continued, in particular due to the sustained economic recovery and declining unemployment figures,” HeidelbergCement said in its preliminary 4Q17 figures. “Main divers in 2017 were commercial and residential construction.”

Sales volumes of aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt were also up in the quarter, although down on a like-for-like basis over the full year. Asphalt sales had a particularly positive quarter, rising 13.4% over the quarter to 1.0 million t.

Over the past couple of years, the German-based company has rapidly expanded its North American profile. The acquisition of Italcementi in 2016 expanded HeidelbergCement’s footprint in the Northeast and Midwest US through Italcementi’s Essroc subsidiary. Last year, the company also acquired CEMEX’s building materials business in the Northwest US, as well as the operational assets of Saunders Companies in the Northeast.

Results from current operations before depreciation and amortisation (RCOBD) were up substantially over the quarter (44.5%) and the year (18.9%) to €358 million and €1.16 billion, respectively.

“RCOBD improved significantly, drive by price increases, consistent cost management, the realisation of synergies at Essroc, and the disposal of a depleted quarry in the US in the fourth quarter,” the company said.

The company is also expecting a positive year in 2018 in North America, anticipating stronger economic growth and a further rise in demand for building materials.

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