9 May 2007

Outstanding start in the first quarter of 2007

  • Marked increase of 18% in Group turnover, exceeding 2 EUR billion
  • Another significant improvement in operating income
  • With EUR 119 million, the profit for the financial year more than trebled
  • Review of options regarding Hanson PLC

Overview January-March 2007

January- March
Operating income before depreciation (OIBD)19028349.0%
Operating income64159148.8%
Additional ordinary result223769.3%
Results from participations2717-37.0%
Earnings before interest and income taxes (EBIT)11321388.3%
Profit before tax68161136.2%
Profit for the financial year37119221.7%
Group share29109272.1%

Acceleration in development of sales volumes and turnover

HeidelbergCement has made a very good start in the first quarter. Cement and clinker sales volumes rose by 20.9% to 17.9 million tonnes (previous year: 14.8). Excluding changes in the consolidation scope, the increase amounted to 12.1%. The growth in Europe-Central Asia was strongest, as a result of impetus related to market and weather conditions.
“In the first few months of 2007, we were able to follow on seamlessly from the above-average success of 2006”, said Dr. Bernd Scheifele, Chairman of the Managing Board of HeidelbergCement at the presentation of the figures for the first quarter of 2007 in the presence of 260 shareholders at the Group’s Annual General Meeting on 9 May 2007 in Leimen, Germany.

In the first quarter, turnover rose by 18.1% in comparison with the previous year to EUR 2,060 million (previous year: 1,744). The Eastern European countries, Norway, Germany, Turkey and maxit Group made particularly significant contributions to this rise. In North America, turnover fell noticeably as a result of the decline in residential construction and the adverse weather conditions. Excluding exchange rate and consolidation effects, Group turnover grew by 20.3%.

Significant increase in results

Operating income before depreciation (OIBD) improved by 49% to EUR 283 million (previous year: 190); an even stronger increase was recorded in operating income, which rose by 149% to EUR 159 million (previous year: 64). The highest growth in results was achieved in Europe-Central Asia, followed by Asia and maxit Group, while North America's operating income weakened. “The jump in earnings in Europe-Central Asia is a result of both the sound state of the market and the successful increase in efficiency in our largest Group area”, explained Dr. Bernd Scheifele.

The profit for the financial year improved to EUR 119.1 million (previous year: 37.0). The Group share in profit more than trebled in comparison with the same quarter of the previous year, reaching EUR 108.9 million (previous year: 29.3).

HeidelbergCement is reviewing its options regarding Hanson PLC

Because of the recent movements in the share price of the British building materials producer Hanson PLC, HeidelbergCement noted on 3 May that it was currently reviewing its options with respect to its interest in Hanson PLC; this, it was noted, also included the possibility of seeking to acquire Hanson PLC. It was also made clear, however, that there could be no certainty that an acquisition would result or what the terms of such an acquisition might be.

Confirmed growth prospects

In 2007, HeidelbergCement is focused on internal growth, consistent cost management and strategic investments to expand its international market position. “The strong prelude to the year in the first quarter reinforces our confidence of achieving our objectives”, stated the Chairman of the Managing Board, Dr. Bernd Scheifele. The measures initiated to expand capacities in growing markets such as India, China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Georgia will also help us achieve this aim.

3,950 characters

Andreas Schaller

Group Spokesman, Director Group Communication & Investor Relations
+49 6221 481 13249
+49 6221 481 13217
HeidelbergCement AG
Berliner Straße 6
69120 Heidelberg