10 June 2015

Building shareholder value: HeidelbergCement announces mid-term strategic priorities and financial targets

  • Four strategic levers to drive earnings growth: significant operating leverage, cost leadership, vertical integration and a superior geographic footprint
  • Ambition to achieve more than €17 billion in Group revenue and more than €4 billion in Operating EBITDA by 2019
  • Target solid investment grade as foundation for future returns
  • Shift capital allocation towards enhanced shareholder returns and disciplined growth in attractive markets
  • Commitment to progressive dividends with a targeted pay-out ratio of 40% to 45% by the end of 2019 – potential additional return of cash through share buy-backs

In advance of today’s Capital Markets Day 2015 in London, HeidelbergCement announces new mid-term strategic priorities and financial targets for the five-year period until 2019. On the back of the positive outlook for the current fiscal year and a strong asset base, the Group aims to increase Group revenue from €12.6 billion in 2014 to more than €17 billion by 2019. Over the same period, Operating EBITDA is expected to grow from €2.3 billion to more than €4 billion.

Following the successful deleveraging over the past years, the company also intends to further shift its priorities for capital allocation towards disciplined growth and increased shareholder returns. The Group projects cumulative free cash flow of about €8.8 billion for the period from 2015 to 2019. Of this amount, it intends to invest approximately €2.5 billion in organic growth while using approximately €1 billion to keep leverage in a range which supports a solid investment grade rating. More than €2 billion shall be allocated to shareholders through progressive dividend payments. In this context, HeidelbergCement intends to raise the pay-out ratio from 29% for fiscal year 2014 to between 40% and 45% for fiscal year 2019. Further available cash may be allocated to acquisitions or returned to shareholders through share buy-backs.

Dr Bernd Scheifele, Chairman of the Management Board, commented: “We have delivered on our strategy of growth and deleveraging which we announced in 2010. As we enter the next phase of our corporate development, HeidelbergCement is in an excellent position to capitalise on its considerable strengths and drive future growth and value creation. We have a compelling strategy in place which clearly differentiates us from our competitors and we remain the industry leader in business excellence and cost efficiency. Over the next five years, we intend to achieve continuous growth and significantly increase our free cash flow with the clear commitment to building shareholder value.”

Dr Lorenz Näger, Chief Financial Officer, added: “We are focused on being the first major building materials company to earn our cost of capital in 2015. On this solid financial base, we will allocate our strong free cash flow to carefully selected growth initiatives and increasing shareholder returns. We intend to significantly raise our dividend pay-out ratio and offer our shareholders progressive dividends based on affordability and sustainability.”

Four strategic levers to enhance growth and profitability

HeidelbergCement further improved its position as a global leader in heavy building materials during the past five years. The Group achieved leading market positions in Cement, Aggregates, Ready Mix and Asphalt and expanded its geographic footprint in mature and fast growing emerging markets. With its highly efficient business organisation and successfully implemented margin improvement programmes, the Group has established itself as the cost leader within the industry.

On this strong foundation, HeidelbergCement is setting out for the next phase of accelerated growth. Its mid-term strategic priorities will focus on four levers: benefit from significant operating leverage, sustain cost leadership, leverage operational strength through vertical integration and integrated management of the businesses, and capitalise on growth opportunities in attractive markets to further expand the geographic footprint.

As important markets improve, the Group anticipates to benefit from its considerable operating leverage which should drive further earnings growth. In order to bolster its position as an industry leader in cost management, HeidelbergCement will continue to realise efficiency improvements through the enhanced digitalisation of the value chain and by promoting a culture of entrepreneurship across the entire Group.

In addition, HeidelbergCement will deepen vertical integration in urban centres as a key driver of future growth and value creation. The Group has already made considerable progress in implementing an integrated management model across its asset base. By further integrating processes across business lines and sites, HeidelbergCement will be able to leverage its operational excellence on a larger scale. This will result in better customer service and improved delivery capabilities and will support a shift towards customer solutions and cross-selling. It will also enable a further reduction of operating costs. Going forward, the Group intends to further expand and develop vertically integrated positions in urban centres around the globe.

HeidelbergCement is furthermore optimally positioned to capture the growth potential in important mature and emerging markets. The Group will carefully deploy capital for selected growth opportunities in existing geographies and expand its footprint to new markets through a targeted and disciplined M&A approach.

Capital Markets Day 2015

HeidelbergCement will present further information on its mid-term strategic priorities and financial targets at its Capital Markets Day scheduled for today, 1.30pm GMT / 2.30pm CET, in London.

Audio webcast of the event

About HeidelbergCement

HeidelbergCement is the global market leader in aggregates and a prominent player in the fields of cement, concrete, and other downstream activities, making it one of the world’s leading integrated manufacturers of building materials. The company employs some 45,000 people at 2,300 locations in more than 40 countries.

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Andreas Schaller

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