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Written by Global Cement staff
17 February 2016
US: Vulcan Materials has appointed Stan Bass, Michael Mills, Jerry Perkins and Brock Lodge to its management team.
Stan Bass, aged 54 years, formerly Senior Vice President, West, with responsibility for Vulcan’s Western and Mountain West Divisions, has been named to the new position of Chief Growth Officer for the company. Michael Mills, aged 55 years, formerly Senior Vice President & General Counsel, has been named to the new role of Chief Administrative Officer. Jerry Perkins, aged 46 years, formerly Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, has been named General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, succeeding Michael Mills. Brock Lodge, aged 43 years, formerly Vice President & General Manager of Vulcan’s Western Division that includes all operations in California, has been promoted to President of that Division.
Bass, as Chief Growth Officer, will be responsible for leading the company’s business development, commercial excellence and strategic growth initiatives. Mills as Chief Administrative Officer will be responsible for the executive oversight of the non-financial, administrative functions of the company.
Written by David Perilli, Global Cement
17 February 2016
HeidelbergCement has finally provided a little more detail about its acquisition of Italcementi with the releases of its preliminary results for 2015. The key message is that all is well. Expected savings from the takeover are growing, less borrowing is required to make the purchase and the approvals from competition commissions around the world are rolling in.
Looking at the cost savings first, the potential for synergies or operational savings was first estimated at Euro175m at the time of the takeover announcement in late July 2015. At that time HeidelbergCement hoped to be able to deliver almost 30% of this figure in 2016. If it goes ahead this will sweeten the honeymoon period considerably following the completion of the deal. The largest savings were expected to come from the commercial area and in purchasing.
This figure then grew to Euro300m at the time of HeidelbergCement’s third quarter results in November 2015. Now, the effects of financing costs and taxes were included. At this point some more strategy about how HeidelbergCement was planning to use Italcementi’s resources started to emerge in the synergy calculations. HeidelbergCement intends to use its global trading business with Italcementi’s ‘export orientated’ cement plants. Import demand, for example in North America or Africa, that used to be bought from third party sources previously, can now be supplied by Italcementi’s plants after the merger, meeting demand and holding capacity utilisation rates up. With the publication of the preliminary results for 2015 the savings figure has grown to Euro400m with little explanation. If only it were that easy to find Euro100m down the back of my sofa.
The financing has also been proceeding smoothly. The loan value required for the takeover has fallen from Euro4.4bn to Euro2bn. Reasons for this include the exclusion of the risk of a mandatory takeover offer to minority shareholders in Morocco, some of Italcementi’s creditor banks agreeing to waive their change of control clauses and the issuance of a Euro625m bond in January 2016. The bridge financing, available initially from Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley, remains at Euro2.7bn.
Finally, competition commission approval has been granted in India, Canada, Morocco and Kazakhstan. Despite holding a cement product capacity of 10.5Mt/yr in India with 4.1Mt/yr additional capacity in development, this was unlikely to be a problem in India, with its total national capacity of 280Mt/yr. The commission implemented the Elzinga Hogarty Test and concluded that there is sufficient competition.
This leaves the possibly trickier approvals outstanding in Europe and the US. Belgium is likely to be the main issue in Europe given that the two companies run 73% or 4.5Mt/yr of the market in production capacity. Divestments are expected here.
In the US, precedent should save HeidelbergCement from interference. HeidelbergCement’s and Italcementi’s combined cement production assets will give it a production capacity of 16.4Mt/yr or around 14% or market share. This will make it the second biggest producer in the country after LafargeHolcim which had its merger approved in 2015. There are no obvious overlaps in their clinker production assets except for a minor one in Pennsylvania which holds both the 2Mt/yr Ordinary Portland Cement Essroc (Italcementi) Nazareth Plant and the 0.13Mt/yr Lehigh White Cement (HeidelbergCement). These two plants are unlikely to be considered in competition with each other.
So, continued smooth sailing is expected for the takeover. Since most of the information regarding the acquisition has come directly from HeidelbergCement it was unlikely to appear otherwise. Let’s see whether this remains the case when Italcementi releases its financial results for 2015 later in the week on 19 February 2016.
Germany: HeidelbergCement has reported that its operating income or profit has risen by 16% year-on-year to Euro1.85bn in 2015 from Euro1.6bn in 2014 in its preliminary results for 2015. Its revenue grew by 6.7% to Euro13.5bn from Euro12.6bn in the same period. It attributed the growth to efficiency drives, price increases in key markets, lower energy costs and currency effects due to a weakening Euro.
“2015 was by far the best year for HeidelbergCement since the financial crisis,” said Bernd Scheifele, Chairman of the Managing Board. “Despite the slowdown of the global economy in the course of the year, we were able to significantly increase our operating income as anticipated. Our strict focus on improving efficiency and margins in recent years, our advantageous geographical positioning, and continuous investments in growth have made a significant contribution.”
The group reported that sales volumes of cement remained stable in 2015. A rise in cement deliveries in North America and Africa almost compensated for the decrease in Europe and Asia. Sales also benefited in the fourth quarter of 2015 from mild weather extending the construction period in parts of Europe. Overall the group reported that sales volumes of cement, clinker and ground-granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) fell slightly to 81.8Mt in 2015 from 81.1Mt in 2014. A similar trend was reported in the fourth quarter of 2015.
By region, overall sales revenue rose in Western and Northern Europe in 2015 driven by demand for building materials in the UK, price increases, currency effects and reduced energy costs. Despite all of this cement sales volumes fell slightly. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia both sales revenue and volumes fell in 2015 mainly due to decreased demand in Ukraine and Russia. In North America both sales revenue and volumes grew in 2015 with a particular positive trend in the west of the US. Revenue grew by 22.9% to Euro3.75bn. Sales volumes in cement grew by 1.9% to 12.3Mt. Asia-Pacific reported both sales revenue and volumes falling in 2015 led by a downturn in Indonesia and Malaysia. Sales revenue and volumes grew in Africa-Mediterranean Basin in 2015 in most countries with the exception of Ghana, where sales volumes fell due to negative effects due to the falling oil price.
HeidelbergCement noted in its preliminary results that the ‘evaluation of potential synergies was provisionally concluded at the start of 2016’ for its takeover of Italcementi. As such its cost-saving target for the takeover has been raised from Euro300m to Euro400m. Approvals have been granted by the competition authorities in India, Canada, Morocco, and Kazakhstan. Discussions with the competition authorities in the US and in Europe are currently ongoing. HeidelbergCement expects the purchase of the 45% stake to be concluded in the first half of 2016.
Written by Global Cement staff
16 February 2016
India: HeidelbergCement India has successfully commissioned a waste heat recovery unit at its Narsingarh cement plant in Damoh, Madhya Pradesh. The new power plant will use waste heat generated by the clinker lines at the plant. It will be able to generate up to 12MW of power from this source.
Egypt: 37 companies have applied for licences to use coal at cement plants, according to the Industrial Development Authority (IDA). IDA Head Ismail Gaber said that the new licenses aim to increase investments in the cement industry to meet local consumption.
Minister of Industry Tarek Qabil announced in January 2016 that licences would be issued to establish 14 new coal-fired cement factories in nine governorates in Beni Suef, Minya, Qena, Sohag, Aswan, New Valley, Suez, Marsa Matruh and South Sinai. Together these plants will have a cement production capacity of 28Mt/yr. The deadline for receiving offers from companies is 10 May 2016.