Displaying items by tag: Intercement
Brazil: Camargo Corrêa is conducting talks to sell its cement business InterCement for US$6.5bn. Two bids, including one by Mexico’s Cemex, have already been made according to the O Globo newspaper. The Brazilian conglomerate was reportedly selling a minority stake in InterCement in mid-2015 and in late-2015 its chief executive officer Vitor Hallack said it was prepared to sell its assets to cut its debts.
InterCement is the second largest cement producer in Brazil with a production capacity of 15Mt/yr and 12 integrated cement plants. The country as a whole saw its domestic sales of cement fell by 11.7% year-on-year to 57.2Mt in 2016 according to data from the Brazilian National Union of Cement Industry.
“One of the worst moments in its history.” That’s how Paulo Camillo Penna, the newly appointed president of SNIC - the Brazilian National Union of Cement Industry - described his industry last week. Few people are likely to be envying his position at the moment. As Camillo Penna went on to explain, domestic sales of cement fell by 11.7% year-on-year to 57.2Mt in 2016. He added that following capacity utilisation rates of 70% in 2015 and 57% in 2016 that he expected the rate to fall below 50% in 2017. When he said it was bad he wasn’t kidding.
Graph 1: Brazilian cement sales from 2011 to 2016. Source: SNIC.
Graph 2: Regional Brazilian cement production from 2014 to 2016. Source: SNIC.
Graph 1 illustrates how stark the decline in cement sales has been since the growth period at the start of the 2010s. Sales have fallen by 15Mt since 2014 in a country that has a production capacity of 88Mt/yr. Graph 2 presents a regional picture of sales. Note in this graph the sharp drops in sales (21%) in the southeast region of Brazil, an area that contains the key cement producing states of Minas Gerais and Rio De Janeiro. The decline in the northeast region including the state of Bahia, another key cement producing state, has been less extreme but it is still over 15%.
Votorantim, the country’s largest cement producer by production capacity, reported that its cement sale volumes fell by 6% to 26Mt in the first nine months of 2016, with declines in Brazil offset by business in other countries like the US. Its sales revenue also fell, by 7% to US$3.03bn. InterCement’s cement and clinker sales volumes fell by 16% to 11.8Mt in the first half of 2016 and its sales fell by 31% to Euro898m. As it described it, ‘the political and economic instability in Brazil in the first half, impacting on unemployment, investment and government spending, ultimately retracted the construction activity, compressing cement consumption.’ To compound these problems newly opened production capacity also ‘intensified’ competition. Later in 2016 InterCement’s parent company Camargo Corrêa was reported to be in talks to sell a minority stake in Argentina’s Loma Negra to pay off its debts from the cement business in Brazil. Finally, from an international perspective, LafargeHolcim’s global results for the first nine months of 2016 were negatively impacted by ‘challenging’ conditions in Brazil amongst other countries. It laid out an environment of reduced sales volumes and falling prices, although it said that it had used cost cutting to fight this.
Politically, the fallout from the Petrobras bribery scandal is continuing to shake out in the construction industry. In October 2016 it was revealed that the Brazilian Development Bank BNDES had frozen loan payments to construction firms involved in overseas projects worth up to US$7bn, including Camargo Corrêa. The Brazilian economy is expected to grow modestly, at a rise of 0.5% gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 after dropping in 2016 although this forecast was falling towards the end of 2016. More hopeful news came from the São Paulo state construction union, SindusCon-SP, that in December 2016 released a report forecasting that the construction industry’s output could rise by 0.5%. However, this was dependent on economic reforms.
The question for Camillo Penna and the rest of the Brazilian cement industry is: where exactly is the bottom of the curve? SNIC forecast that cement sales will contract by a further 5 – 7% in 2017 and this is below the 11.7% drop experienced in 2016. So, does SNIC think that the industry is starting to hit against a bedrock of demand that economic headwinds can’t shift? In this kind of environment it seems likely to expect increased merger and acquisition activity. The merger of Brazil’s Magnesita and Austria’s RHI refractory companies that was announced in the autumn of 2016 may just be the start.
Argentina: Brazilian cement producer Camargo Corrêa is in talks to sell a 40% stake in Loma Negra. The company is exploring a potential sale with an unspecified number of bidders, according to Reuters and Brazil Journal. The proceeds of any successful sale will be used to reduce the debts of InterCement, the holding company that Camargo Corrêa uses to manage assets it purchased from Cimpor. Loma Nega is the largest cement producer in Argentina.
Argentina: Loma Negra, a subsidiary of Brazil’s Intercement, is to spend US$17.5m towards upgrading the baghouse at its Catamarca cement plant in Catamarca province. Work is scheduled to start in September 2016 and continue for 12 months, according to the El Cronista newspaper.
Brazil: InterCement’s sales have fallen by 28% year-on-year to Euro454m for the first quarter of 2016 from Euro637m in the same period in 2015. Its cement and clinker sales volumes fell by 11.2% to 6.03Mt from 6.79Mt. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 36.2% to Euro77.9m from Euro122m. The group blamed the falling sales on construction market contraction in Brazil and negative currency effects in certain territories.
The Brazilian-based cement producer reported sales volumes declines in most countries it operates in. Cement and clinker sales volumes fell by 17% to 2.27Mt in Brazil, by 34.8% to 0.73Mt/yr in Portugal and by 7.1% to 1.41Mt in Argentina. However, volumes rose by 26.3% to 0.37Mt in Mozambique and by 2.8% to 0.32Mt/yr in South Africa. Overall sales volumes declines were attributed to the political instability, economic problems in Brazil and decreased exports from Portugal to Algeria due to issues with import licences.
LafargeHolcim has officially opened a new cement line at its Barossa cement plant in Brail. It is unfortunate timing given that the Brazilian cement industry has not had an easy time of it of late. The wider economy in the country has been in recession since it was hit by falling commodity and oil prices and gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 3.8% in 2015. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted currently that the GDP will fall by a similar amount in 2016. Alongside this, the Petrobras corruption inquiry has enveloped construction companies and led to the suspension of president of Dilma Rousseff. The Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE) reported that the national construction industry contracted by 7.6% in 2015.
Graph 1: Brazilian cement production from 2011 to 2015. Source: SNIC.
Graph 2: Brazilian cement production by quarter from 2015 to March 2016. Source: SNIC.
Graph 1 summarises, with National Union of the Cement Industry (SNIC) data, what happened to cement production in 2015. It fell by 9.6% to 64.4Mt in 2015 from 71.3Mt in 2014. Unfortunately, as Graph 2 shows, the downward production trend is accelerating into 2016. Production fell by 5.76% year-on-year to 15.6Mt in the first quarter of 2015 from 17.1Mt in the first quarter of 2014. Now, production has fallen by 11% to 13.9Mt in the first quarter of 2016. April 2016 figures also appear to be following the same trend.
Amidst these conditions Votorantim somehow managed to hold its cement business revenue up; increasing it by 6% to US$3.82bn in 2015. Despite this its cement sales volumes fell by 6% to 35Mt. As a result, Votorantim announced plans to temporarily shutdown kilns and plants and sell off selected concrete assets. Cimento Tupi reported that its cement and clinker sales volumes fell by 23% to 1631Mt in 2015 from 2119Mt in 2014. It blamed the fall of the ‘retraction’ of the cement market and a wide-scale maintenance campaign it had implemented on its kilns. Its revenue fell by 26% to US$98.8m from US$134m.
LafargeHolcim pulled no punches when it blamed challenging conditions in Brazil for dragging its financial results down globally in 2015. It didn’t release any specific figures for the country but it described its cement volumes as falling ‘significantly’ with competition and cost inflation adding to the chaos. This has gotten worse in the first quarter of 2016 with volumes further affected. Its cement sales volumes in Latin America fell by 10.7% year-on-year for the period principally due to Brazil. Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) has reported an 8% rise in production to 531,000t in the first quarter of 2016 and an 8% rise in sales volumes to 571,000t in the same period. This was partly achieved by the ramp-up of production at its new plant at Arcos in Minas Gerais.
In the wider cement supplier sector the knock-on from falling cement demand has hit refractory manufacturer Magnesita. Its revenue fell by 17% year-on-year to US$66.9m for the first quarter of 2016. This was due to falling steel production in various territories and the negative effects of the construction market in Brazil hurting its cement customers.
It is unsurprising that companies like LafargeHolcim commissioned new capacity in Brail a few years ago given the promise the market seemed to hold. Both the CSN project at Arcos and Holcim’s Barroso project were announced in 2012 near the height of the market. Both are also based in Minas Gerais, the country’s biggest cement producing state. Predicting both the drop in the international commodities markets and a local political crisis would have been hard to predict. All these producers can do now is sit back and wait out the situation with their efficiency gains until the construction rates pick up again. Hopefully the first quarter results for Brazil’s two leading cement producers, Votorantim and InterCement, will not be too depressing.
Portugal: Cimpor has appealed a judgement by the Supreme Administrative Court cancelling permits to burn alternative fuels at its Souselas cement plant. The North Central Administrative Court cancelled the environmental licences, originally granted by the former Environment Minister Nunes Correia, in March 2016.
Paraguay: Matias Cardarelli has been appointed the director of Yguazu Cementos, a joint-venture between Intercement and Concret Mix. Yguazu Cementos has a 0.4Mt/yr cement grinding plant with in Villa Hayes. Previously, Cardarelli worked for Ford Motors and Zurich Financial Services. He joined Intercement in Argentina in 2008.
Portugal: Cimpor has reported a loss of Euro71.2m in 2015 down from a net profit of Euro27.2m in 2014. Sales fell by 4.3% to Euro2.49bn from Euro2.60bn. Cement and clinker sales volumes fell by 6% to 28.1Mt from 30Mt. Like its parent company InterCement, the cement producer attributed the loss to an economic downturn in Brazil and unfavourable exchange rates.
Brazil: InterCement made a loss of Euro43.7m in 2015. In 2014 it made a profit of Euro50.1m. Its revenue fell by 4% to Euro2.49bn from Euro2.6bn. It attributed the loss to an economic downturn in Brazil and unfavourable exchange rates.
“This was undoubtedly a challenging year for InterCement, particularly due to the macroeconomic situation in Brazil, which accounts for about 35% of the cement production, the largest contribution within the company. The scenario was even more complex, as coupled with the economic downturn in the largest market where it operates, InterCement faced average unfavourable exchange rates,” said CEO Ricardo Fonseca de Mendonça Lima in a statement.
He added that the company’s decrease in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin remained high in the international cement market at 20.8%. EBITDA fell by 18.2% to Euro518m in 2015. The cement producer reported that overall cement and clinker sales fell by 6.1% to 28.1Mt in 2015 from 30Mt in 2014.
By region, InterCement has temporarily suspended it grinding plants at Jacarei and Suape and its clinker kiln at João Pessoa in Brazil to cut costs. By contrast its plants in Argentina were working a full capacity in 2016. Co-processing developments were noted in Egypt and Portugal. The Alhandra cement plant in Portugal was the first unit in the company to beat a 50% co-processing monthly rate. A production decline was reported in Cape Verde and operational difficulties in Mozambique led to a kiln stoppage.