A negative impact on demand for construction materials has been reported by Italcementi, which said that after a positive first quarter, 2011 had seen an intensification of the crisis in the construction sector.

A positive performance was seen in France by Italcementi, with signs of an upturn in demand at the end of the year in North America.

The Italian-based group also said there was a sales price recovery in Italy, while in the emerging countries, it saw a contraction in results in Egypt as a result of the political situation. Healthy growth was reported in results from Morocco, India and Thailand, however.

The group's results at 31 December, 2011, showed profit for the year was influenced by impairment losses of €134 million on assets relating primarily to operations in Spain, Greece and Calcestruzzi in Italy.

Italcementi said that sales of non-strategic assets had produced a positive effect on the financial position in 2011. From the start of 2007 to the end of 2011, group net debt fell by approximately €120 million after capital expenditure totalling more than €3.2 billion.

The group's consolidated revenue was just over €4.7 billion, up from €4.66 billion in 2010. It said its recurring EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was €697.3 million (€841.7 in 2010), EBIT was €129.0 million (€370.2 million a year before) and total profit for 2011 was €91.2 million compared to €197.1 million in 2010.

In 2011, while sales volumes grew in France/Belgium, Morocco, North America and India, downturns were reported in Egypt, Italy, Spain and Greece, with the performance in Thailand remaining steady.

It said that with regard to sales prices, the trend was positive in Italy, India and Thailand, and negative in Egypt and North America.

The group added that the substantial stability in revenue, the renewed pressure on energy prices and a negative exchange-rate effect, counterbalanced in part by the measures taken to improve industrial efficiency, led to an overall decline in results.

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