Denmark: FLSmidth’s group net sales fell by 20% year-on-year to Euro2.21bn in 2020 from Euro2.78bn in 2019. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) before special non-recurring items fell by 44% to Euro152m from Euro270m. Net profit was Euro27.6m, down by 74% from Euro104m.
The group’s cement business recorded net sales of Euro783m, down by 31% from Euro1.14bn, and an EBITA loss of Euro15.9m, compared to a gain of Euro65.3m in 2019. It said that the cement business is not expected to be EBITA positive in 2021 due to continued cement reshaping costs. However, order intake for the cement division improved year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020 due to a Euro101m engineering, procurement and supervision contract for a cement plant project in Ethiopia.
Chair Vagn Ove Sørensen and chief executive officer Thomas Schulz said, “The cement market is faced with on-going overcapacity and we see no short-term to medium-term recovery. Thus, we continue activities to reshape our cement business. Large economic stimulus programmes, combined with an increasing focus on lower-carbon cement, will create good opportunities in the medium- to long-term but the timing and extent of an overall rebound in the cement market remain uncertain. It is, however, clear that the cement industry will need substantial investments to meet the emissions reduction targets set by a growing number of cement producers as well as the recent commitments to carbon neutrality made by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) and the European Cement Association. Based on the need to decarbonise, we foresee a multi-commodity cement industry in the future, utilising a range of cement production processes and a variety of raw materials. As the industry’s leading and most innovative premium supplier with strong process know-how, we are strongly positioned to benefit from this development.”
In further comments about cement industry trends the company noted that, “Following the shutdown of about 20% of the world’s cement plants outside of China in April 2020, the share of cement plants in operation has since climbed back up above 95% at year-end. However, many plants continue to run at reduced capacity and sites remain difficult to access due to restrictions and preventative measurements taken by authorities and plant operators.”