The continued recovery of the construction industry in North America and the United Kingdom contributed to an overall positive development of sales volumes in the first quarter for HeidelbergCement. The group’s cement and clinker sales volumes fell slightly by 0.8 percent to 16.8 million tons from 17.0 million tons the previous year. However, deliveries of aggregates amounted to 46.3 million tons, an increase of 4.4 percent over the previous year. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 1.9 percent to 7.9 million cu. meters, and asphalt sales volumes grew by 2.6 percent to 1.6 million tons.
In North America, HeidelbergCement, in conformity with the International Monetary Fund, expects a continuing economic recovery and consequently a further increase in demand for building materials. Besides new residential building, commercial and infrastructure construction is also making an increasingly strong contribution to this growth.
In Eastern Europe, markets should continue to stabilize and the first impetus is expected to stem from the EU’s new infrastructure program. In Western and Northern Europe, positive market development is expected. This is based on the recovery in the United Kingdom, the consistent solid condition of the German economy, and stable economic development in Northern Europe and Benelux.
In view of the positive development of demand and the commissioning of new capacities, HeidelbergCement anticipates an increase in the overall sales volumes of the core products: cement, aggregates, and ready-mixed concrete.
“Business development in the first quarter has strengthened our conviction in our outlook for 2015,” said Dr. Bernd Scheifele, chairman of HeidelbergCement’s managing board. “Our strategic focal points remain unchanged: cost leadership through continuous efficiency improvements, deleveraging with the aim of attaining investment grade status, and targeted investment in cement capacities in growth markets as well as in raw material deposits to strengthen our global market leadership in aggregates.
“We are confident about 2015,” continued Dr. Scheifele. “The outlook for the global economy is positive, but there are still macroeconomic and especially geopolitical risks. We will continue to benefit from the positive development in North America, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Northern Europe. These countries generate almost 50 percent of our revenue. The considerable drop in the oil price and the weaker euro will provide us with additional tailwind. In view of our strong positioning in raw material reserves, our production sites in attractive locations, our outstanding vertical integration, and our excellent product portfolio, we are well positioned to achieve our goals.”