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US weather and low assets sale hit Heidelberg Cement’s earn

 Poor weather in the US and lower asset sales than expected reduced Heidelberg Cement’s earnings in 2018. Its operating earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 6.8% year-on-year Euro3.07bn in 2018 from Euro3.3bn in 2017. Its revenue rose by 4.7% to Euro18.1bn from Euro17.3bn. Cement sales volumes grew by 3.4% to 130Mt from 126Mt and ready-mix concrete volumes increased by 3.7% to 49Mm3 from 47.2Mm3.
“In operational terms, we were almost able to offset the impact of adverse weather conditions, particularly in the US, and the higher than expected cost inflation through growth in sales volumes and price increases,” said Bernd Scheifele, chairman of the managing board. He added that the company achieved record sales volumes and revenues in 2018. He also said that its action plan is producing its first results, with a reduction in debt to below Euro8.4bn due to portfolio ‘optimization’ and spending discipline.
By region the group reported that construction activity in North America was hampered by a long winter in the north and heavy rainfall, particularly in the north and southwest of the US. A ‘strong’ level of construction was noted in the group’s Northern and Eastern Europe-Central Asia Group area leading to revenue increases. In Asia-Pacific its operating EBITDA fell by 4.4% due in part to high competition in Indonesia and infrastructure project delays in Thailand. Cement sales volumes growth was reported in most counties in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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