A 4% rise in revenue has been reported by HeidelbergCement, with a 5% improvement in operating income to €1.6 million.

The German-based company said the 2014 financial year had been successful despite a challenging environment. It said the decisive factors had been the group’s geographical positioning in countries experiencing solid economic development in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as price increases in major markets, and the successful implementation of its margin improvement programmes.

Revenue was €12.6 billion – which it said was achieved despite substantial negative exchange rate effects of €515 million – and profit for the financial year reached €687 million. This was compared to the previous year’s figure of €933 million, of which €420 million came from non-recurring items. It said 2014 represented a considerable improvement in results before the effects of the non-recurring items.

The company said that all its business lines improved their sales volumes year-on-year. In operational terms, the sales figures for cement and aggregates rose in all group areas.

Dr Bernd Scheifele, chairman of the managing board, said, “HeidelbergCement is in the best shape of the last 15 years. Revenue and operating income are experiencing a definite growth trend.”

At the beginning of this year, HeidelbergCement confirmed the sale of its Hanson Building Products subsidiary for US$1.4 billion (€1.30 billion).

Scheifele said, “With the sale of the building products business, we have successfully repositioned the company towards our core products cement and aggregates as well as ready-mixed concrete and asphalt.

“Taking into account the selling proceeds, we have reduced net debt by almost €9 billion since the end of 2007 to noticeably less than €6 billion, thereby clearly falling below the goal of €6.5 billion we communicated to the capital market.”

Looking ahead, HeidelbergCement said that while there was a positive outlook for the global economy in 2015, geopolitical and macroeconomic risks remained. However, it forecast growth in sales volumes of cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete, and therefore a significant rise in revenue, operating income, and net-profit adjusted for non-recurring effects.

It said HeidelbergCement was well positioned to benefit from the continued economic recovery, particularly in the US and the UK.

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