North American growth bolsters Heidelberg

By Sandy Guthrie03 May 2012

Heidelberg Cement CEO Dr Bernd Scheifele.

Heidelberg Cement CEO Dr Bernd Scheifele.

Strong growth in North America and continued positive development in Asia have helped HeidelbergCement to an 8% rise in group revenue for the first quarter of this year.

The group has reported that revenue for the quarter was €2.8 billion, and said that it had seen increased sales volumes in cement - up 5% - and aggregates - up 1% - despite a cold spell in Europe.

It said first quarter cement sales volumes had benefited from the continued economic recovery and mild winter weather in North America, as well as from the strong growth of demand in HeidelbergCement markets in Asia and Africa.

The increase in sales volumes in those areas were said to have more than compensated for the losses in Western and Northern Europe, which were as a result of the cold spell in February. Positive developments in North America led to total aggregates sales volumes rising slightly, Heidelberg said.

The group's cement and clinker sales volumes rose by 5.0% to 18.2 million tonnes - it was 17.3 million tonnes last year. The North America and Asia-Pacific Group areas achieved double-digit growth rates. Indonesia, in particular, saw demand continue to develop strongly. Cement sales volumes in Western and Northern Europe declined as a result of February's cold weather, while higher capacities in Poland and Russia were said to have led to a slight increase in sales volumes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Deliveries of aggregates across the group amounted to 47.0 million tonnes - 46.3 million tonnes the previous year - an increase of 1.5%. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries declined by 3.2% to 8.1 million m3, down from 8.4 million m3 the previous year. Asphalt sales volumes fell by 13.7% to 1.4 million tonnes from 1.6 million tonnes.

Based on the increase in cement and aggregates sales volumes, group revenue was reported to have risen by 7.6% to €2.8 billion in the first quarter, from € 2.6 billion last year.

Dr Bernd Scheifele, CEO of HeidelbergCement, said, "The increase in revenue and sales volumes in the first quarter, despite the extreme cold wave in Europe, is further proof of the advantageous geographical positioning of our company.

"In view of the higher costs of energy and raw materials, we launched price increases and in some markets we were already able to execute them in order to improve our operating margins."

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