Cement producer HeidelbergCement reported a strong start to the year as sales volumes in emerging markets helped compensate for a depressed market in Europe, owing to a harsh winter and lost working days.
Group revenue for the period from January to March 2013 decreased -1.4% to €2.76 billion, compared with €2.80 billion in Q1, 2012.
The company reported growth in cement volumes in North America, Asia, and Africa. Its cement and clinker volumes saw a decline of -0.7% from 18.2 million tonnes in 2012 to 18.1 million tonnes. Asphalt volumes fell -8.6% to 1.3 million tonnes.
Operating income before depreciation rose by +3.5% to €219 million, while operating income increased by +35% to €16 million. Successful price increases, cost saving programmes and reducing energy costs all helped improve profit margins for HeidelbergCement.
HeidelbergCement also continued to invest in production, with a 2.9 million tonne annual cement capacity commissioned in central India, while the firm also increased its in stake in Cement Australia from 25% to 50%.
Looking ahead, the cement producer predicts continue growth in Asia -Pacific and the Africa-Mediterranean Basin; sustained recovery in North America; while Europe will remain weak, with the exception of Germany, Scandinavia, and Russia.
“Business development in the first quarter has strengthened our conviction in our prospects for the 2013 financial year,” said Dr. Bernd Scheifele, chairman of the managing board, HeidelbergCement.