Weather helps Strabag
By Sandy Guthrie28 May 2014
Good weather has helped boost figures for the first quarter of 2014 at contractor Strabag, whose home markets are Austria and Germany.
It said more favourable weather conditions than last year helped output volume increase, leading to a reduction of the winter loss which is usually a characteristic of the first quarter.
CEO Thomas Birtel said, “We see ourselves faced with a challenging environment in 2014 with higher price pressure in the European infrastructure construction sector.
“At the same time, however, we are registering continued favourable conditions in building construction for the private sector, above all in our home market of Germany. This situation did not change in the first quarter.”
He added, “What did change, however, is the weather versus the comparison quarter. In the previous year, the weather conditions had made construction activity impossible for longer periods of time. Now, by comparison, the weather conditions supported a return to usual levels of output volume.”
The Strabag group registered an output volume of €2.34 billion in the first quarter of 2014 – an increase of 10%. After unfavourable weather conditions had restricted the construction activity in the previous year, the return to the usual level was said to be especially evident in its home markets of Germany and Austria. Consolidated group revenue, like output volume, showed an increase of 10%.
There was year-on-year growth in the order backlog, rising 5% to €14.5 billion. Strabag said this development was driven particularly by large projects that had been acquired last year in Germany, Chile, Slovakia and Hungary, while projects were largely completed in Benelux, Africa and Italy.
The company added that the first two quarters of the year typically had a negative effect on results, which was then overcompensated by results in the second half of the year. It said, therefore, that as a result of the seasonal effects, a quarterly comparison made little sense.
With the higher revenue, the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in the first quarter of 2014 improved by 10% to a loss of €69.91 million.
The management board of Strabag said it continued to expect the output volume for the 2014 financial year to remain more or less unchanged versus 2013 at €13.6 billion.