HeidelbergCement has said its second quarter results showed a strong operating performance compared to the previous year, with increased sales volumes in all business lines.
The building materials producer said that group revenue was stable at €3.6 billion – a rise of 8% on a like-for-like basis. Its operating income improved slightly to €516 million despite negative exchange rate effects – a like-for-like increase of 12%.
It felt there was a positive outlook for the global economy thanks to a recovery in the mature markets of North America and Northern Europe, especially the US and UK. It forecast growth in sales volumes of cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete.
The group’s cement and clinker sales volumes rose by 4% to 22.3 million tonnes in the second quarter, up from 21.4 million tonnes in the same period a year earlier.
The strongest growth was achieved in the Eastern Europe-Central Asia group area, followed by North America and Asia-Pacific.
Cement sales volumes in the Western and Northern Europe group area remained more or less stable, said HeidelbergCement. Apart from the UK, the other countries in the region saw cement sales volumes remain slightly below the same quarter of the previous year as a result of anticipatory effects in construction owing to the mild winter weather in the first quarter, and a lower number of working days.
The Africa-Mediterranean Basin Group area saw a decrease in sales volumes as a result of the sale of its Gabon activities and a non-recurring export order in the second quarter of 2013. However, production volumes rose by 6% in all other countries, the company reported, adding that adjusted for consolidation effects, group cement sales volumes rose by 5%.
It said that deliveries of aggregates increased by 3% to 64.3 million tonnes, compared to the previous year’s figure of 62.1 tonnes. Higher sales volumes, particularly in the North America, Eastern Europe-Central Asia, and Asia-Pacific group areas, as well as in the UK, contributed to this development.
Deliveries of ready-mixed concrete rose marginally by 1% to 9.5 million m3. The Australian and North American markets were said to be key growth drivers.
In the first half of the year, cement and clinker sales volumes rose by 7% to 39.8 million tonnes, up from 37.3 million tonnes in the first half of 2013. Deliveries of aggregates increased by 6% to 108.6 million tonnes and deliveries of ready-mixed concrete rose by 5% to 17.2 million m3, up from 16.4 million m3 the previous year. Asphalt sales volumes grew by 17% to 3.8 million tonnes up from 3.3 million tonnes.
Dr Bernd Scheifele, chairman of the managing board, said, “HeidelbergCement has continued the positive operational trend of the previous quarters. Revenue and results were notably improved on a like-for-like basis.
“Strict cost management, successful price increases in major markets, and, not least, our advantageous geographical positioning have contributed to this achievement. Moreover, our debt reduction is back on track thanks to our disciplined financial management. The negative exchange rate effects, which particularly impacted us in the second quarter, are expected to ease in the second half of the year.”