- Group revenues: € 1.5 billion (+ 9% versus H1 2014)
- Operating EBITDA: € 181 million (+ 34% versus H1 2015)
- Return to profitability with after-tax profit of € 21 million
- Earnings guidance for 2015 increased: € 375 million, incl. € 25 million from the sale of non-core real estate
Vienna, 19-8-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — Wienerberger AG today announced sound results for the first half of 2015. The international building materials group continued its growth course with an increase of 9% in revenues to € 1.47 billion and a significant 34% improvement in operating EBITDA to € 181.0 million. Heimo Scheuch, Chief Executive Officer of Wienerberger AG, summarized the first six months as follows: “We generated revenue and earnings growth in all divisions, even though we are still faced with very challenging markets. Our strong operating performance was supported by a number of factors: on the one hand, the solid development of our East European roof tile business, which has been fully consolidated since the middle of last year, and on the other hand further optimization measures implemented throughout the group in recent months. We offset cost inflation with better prices and benefited from lower energy costs and positive foreign exchange effects. During the first half year, we also realized € 15 million earnings contribution from our program to sell non-core real estate. All these measures to after-tax profit of € 21 million.“
Segment Development in the First Half of 2015
Clay Building Materials Europe: increase in revenues and earnings
Residential construction in Europe was stable to slightly positive during the first half of 2015, but still characterized by very different regional trends. Great Britain and the Netherlands remained dynamic markets as well as the Eastern European core markets Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland. In contrast, difficult market conditions affected France, Italy and Russia. In addition, single- and two-family house construction in Austria, Germany and Switzerland was weaker than expected and also the renovation market slowed notably. In general, the weather conditions during the first months were also favorable than the previous year. Wienerberger therefore recorded slightly lower volumes in the first half of 2015. However, this decline was offset by an increase in average prices and an improvement in the product mix. Positive effects also resulted from leaner cost structures, the optimization of production processes and lower energy costs. The Clay Building Materials Europe Division recorded an increase of 11% in revenues to € 798.2 million and 16% in operating EBITDA to € 112.9 million in the first six months of 2015. The East European roofing business, which has been fully consolidated since last year, generated revenues of € 62.1 million and operating EBITDA of € 5.6 million.
Pipes & Pavers Europe: growth driven by record results in plastic pipe business
The Pipes & Pavers Europe Division recorded a year-on-year increase of 4% in revenues to € 540.8 million in the first half of 2015 and operating EBITDA rose by a significant 24% to € 56.6 million. This sound development was driven, above all, by strong growth and record results in the plastic pipe business based on higher volumes and market shares in a number of Nordic core markets and in Eastern Europe, where earmarked subsidies supported tenders for public supply networks. It also reflected the positive development of the international project business. Wienerberger successfully mastered the shortage of plastic granulate and the resulting increase in raw material costs with proactive price management and its diversified supplier network. This allowed the company to ensure uninterrupted availability for its customers in a very volatile environment. In addition to this sound development, the concrete pavers business continued to improve despite less favorable weather this year. The ceramic wastewater systems business was stable at a good level.
North America: significant increase in operating EBITDA to € 21 million
The North America Division increased revenues to € 131.7 million, even though
US residential construction fell short of our expectations due to the severe winter and wet spring. Volumes therefore remained at the prior year level. However, the brick business was supported by a slight improvement in average prices, successful cost reduction measures, a property sale contributing € 12.5 million and the stronger US dollar. The North American plastic pipe business showed generally stable development during the first six months. These factors led to a significant increase in operating EBITDA to € 20.7 million.
Earnings, Asset and Financial Position
Sound increase in earnings and return to the profit zone
The sound development of business resulted in operating EBIT of € 78.9 million for the first six months of 2015 (2014: € 33.5 million). Not included here are impairment charges of € 10.5 million to property, plant and equipment in Russia, which were recognized to reflect the continuing decline in revenues and earnings in that country. Earnings were positively influenced by the sale of non-core real estate for € 15.0 million. After the deduction of financial results totaling € -29.2 million, profit before tax equaled € 39.2 million. This represents a clear improvement over the previous year. Wienerberger recorded net profit of € 21.1 million after of taxes, compared with a loss of € 1.7 million in the first half of 2014. Earnings per share improved to € 0.05 (2014: loss of € 0.15), whereby the calculation of earnings per share includes an adjustment for the accrued hybrid coupon.
Improvement of € 53.7 million in gross cash flow
Gross cash flow rose by € 53.7 million to € 153.9 million, due to the strong growth in operating earnings. Investments totaled approx. € 60.4 million (2014: € 52.3 million) and consisted primarily of expenditures for maintenance and investments in technical upgrades for production processes as well as a smaller component for growth projects.
Bond was redeemed as scheduled in August
Net debt rose by € 163.5 million to € 785.0 million as of June 30, 2015 and, in line with the seasonal pattern, reached the annual high during the first half-year. Gearing equaled 37%, which represents net debt to operating EBITDA of 2.2 years and underscores Wienerberger’s strong capital structure. The € 200 million bond that matured in August was refinanced in the beginning of this month primarily through free bank lines which will be repaid during the second half-year from operating cash flow.
Outlook and Strategy
Only limited changes expected during the rest of the year – current market trends should continue
Wienerberger expects a continuation of the current trends during the remainder of this year, but with regional differences. Stable to slightly stronger growth is anticipated in Europe and should result in volumes in line with the markets for the Clay Building Materials Europe Division. Higher average prices, an improvement in the product mix and the further optimization of cost structures will support sound revenue and earnings growth. The Pipes & Pavers Division should see a moderate improvement in earnings during the rest of this year. Business development in the plastic pipe business will be supported by the Nordic markets and the international project business. The ceramic wastewater systems activities should improve substantially based on exports to the Middle East. Wienerberger also sees further slight volume growth for the concrete paver business in Central-East Europe. In total, this division should generate significantly higher earnings for the full year. Expectations for US residential construction are more subdued than at the beginning of the year, but the group still expects a sound improvement in revenues and earnings for its North America Division in 2015.
FY 2015: operating EBITDA expected to total € 375 million, incl. € 25 million from real estate sales
Heimo Scheuch added in conclusion: “Our expectations for market developments during the last six months of this year have not changed significantly. Nevertheless, we look to the future with optimism based on our satisfactory operating performance and the positive results of our real estate sale program in the first half-year. We have therefore increased our guidance for 2015 and are now expecting operating EBITDA of € 375 million, including anticipated real estate sales of € 25 million. A great deal of work lies ahead, but I am convinced we will master this challenge.“
The full report on the first half of 2015, a video message by Heimo Scheuch which summarizes the most important developments at Wienerberger and a live transmission at 9:00 am (CEST) of the press conference on half-year results can be found under www.wienerberger.com.
Wienerberger is the world’s largest producer of bricks (Porotherm, Terca) as well as number one on the clay roof tile market (Koramic, Tondach) in Europe and on the concrete paver market (Semmelrock) in Central-East Europe. In pipe systems (Steinzeug-Keramo ceramic pipes and Pipelife plastic pipes), the company is one of the market leaders in Europe. With 203 plants, Wienerberger generated revenues of € 2,835 million and operating EBITDA of € 317 million in 2014.
For additional information contact:
Karin Steinbichler, Head of Corporate Communications Wienerberger AG
T +43 1 601 92 – 10149 | email@example.com
Klaus Ofner, Head of Investor Relations Wienerberger AG
T +43 1 601 92 – 10221 | firstname.lastname@example.org
- CEO message on the results of the first 6 months 2015In this CEO Message Heimo Scheuch, CEO of Wienerberger Group, discusses Group earnings of the first six months 2015. Additionally, he outlines his expectations for the markets and provides an outlook on Group results for the FY 2015.