Displaying items by tag: Results
Lots of fascinating information has been emerging in recent weeks about changes in the Chinese cement industry as the larger producers have published their annual financial results. One example is the focus on using alternative fuels to fire up kilns. As explained below, the spotlight on co-processing is state-mandated and this is why the producers are now keen to promote their adherence. Even so, as ever with China, the scale of the change is staggering.
For example, Anhui Conch reported that it had completed 15 waste treatment projects and one sludge treatment project in 2016. In addition it had three projects still undergoing construction at the year-end. The group said that it co-processed 600,000t of domestic waste in its cement kilns in 2016. All of this was achieved by a company that says it only started co-processing municipal waste from its first project in 2010. China Resources Cement’s (CRC) progress was slower but it managed to start a co-processing project at its plant in Binyang County, Guangxi in December 2015 and a sludge project in Nanning City, Guangxi in July 2016. New projects at Tianyang County, Guangxi and Midu County, Yunnan are being built at present, with completion expected by the end of 2017.
Long held rumours about production overcapacity in China came to head in 2015 with the National Bureau of Statistics in China (NBSC) reporting that sales dropped in 2015 following a decade of steady growth. Then the results of most of major producers followed this by falling in 2015. CRC presented a good history of what happened next in the Chinese cement industry in its results report [LINK]. In brief, in 2016 the Chinese government implemented supply-side structural reforms focusing on production efficiency, reiterating attempts to stop new production capacity being built and pushing environmental reforms. Throughout the year various government offices released guidelines to encourage market consolidation, cut obsolete production capacity, increase co-processing rates and decrease the energy needed to produce each tonne of clinker.
Graph 1: Cement sales in China, 2012 – 2016. Source: National Bureau of Statistics in China.
Whether or not any of this has helped the Chinese cement industry to overcome the problems it faced in 2015 is unclear. As Graph 1 shows, Chinese cement sales started to rise again slightly to 2.35Bnt in 2016 from 2.31Bnt in 2015. Sales revenue from some of the major cement producers presents a more varied picture as can be seen in Graph 2. Anhui Conch’s revenue rose by 9.7% year-on-year to US$8.12bn in 2016, China National Building Material Company’s (CNBM) revenue rose by 1% to US$14.8bn and CRC’s revenue fell by 4.2% to US$3.3bn. CRC may have suffered here from its relative business concentration in southeast China. Both Anhui Conch’s and CNBM’s results seemed to look patchy in mid-2016 when they released their half-year reports, but both sales and profits seemed to pick up sharply in the second half of the year.
Graph 2: Sales revenue from selected major Chinese cement producers. Source: Company annual reports.
As the current set of structural reforms kick in within the Chinese cement industry it will be interesting to see what happens next. From plans to cut 10% of local clinker production capacity by 2020 to ambitious environmental aims the sector barely has time to catch its breath. The question is whether the major producers balance sheets are being helped more by a recovering local market or by the reforms. Either way the uptake of alternative fuels is encouraging.
China: China National Building Material Company’s (CNBM) sales revenue rose by 1% year-on-year to US$14.8bn in 2016 from US$14.6bn in 2015. Its profit rose by 1% to US$410m from US$406m. The group’s sales of cement and clinker grew by 4.2% to 291Mt in 2016. Despite earlier reporting falls in operating revenue and profit of over 5% for the first nine months of 2016 the cement producer attributed the turnaround to production efficiencies and adherence to state-mandated supply-side reforms. It added that despite a ‘grim’ national economy the cement sector underwent a ‘weak’ recovery as reforms kicked in leading to growth in cement prices.
China: Anhui Conch returned to rising sales revenue and profit in 2016 after a problematic year in 2015 beset by a poor market for cement. Its revenue rose by 9.7% year-on-year to US$8.12bn in 2016 from US$7.40bn in 2015. Its sales volumes of cement and clinker rose by 8% to 277Mt. Its net profit rose by 14% to US$1.24bn from US$1.09bn. The group says that its adoption of a flexible marketing strategy for different regions and plants and a focus on lowering production costs delivered sales growth and operating savings. However, its full year results are in contrast to its ones for the first nine months of 2016, in which it reported small declines in its revenue and net profit.
During the year the cement producer finished building six clinker production lines at Yingjiangyunhan Cement and Yiyang Conch Cement and it completed 18 cement grinding plants at Wenshan Conch Cement and Ganzhou Conch Cement. In addition to purchased the assets of Anhui Chaodong Cement. Outside of China the group completed lines in Indonesia and Myanmar, started buildings projects in Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos and started early work on new projects in Russia and Myanmar. At the end of 2016 the group says it has a clinker and cement production capacity of 244Mt/yr and 313Mt/yr respectively. It also reported that it had completed 15 waste treatment projects by the end of the year to feed cement plant kilns with domestic waste.
China: Huaxin Cement’s sales revenue rose by 1.9% to US$1.96bn in 2016 from US$1.93bn in 2015. Its cement and clinker sales rose by 5% to 52.7Mt and its net profit rose sharply to US$65.6m from US$14.9m. It attributed its result to following government-promoted supply side reforms such as cutting production costs. The cement producer noted that its had increased its usage of alternative fuels in the second half of the year following an increase in the cost of coal.
During the reporting period Huaxin Cement put its 3000t/day Tajikistan Sughd clinker production line into operation. It also purchased 15 cement plants from LafargeHolcim, including four grinding plants, located in Yunnan, Chongqing and Guizhou provinces. Altogether the new cement and clinker production capacity is expected to reach 10Mt and 15Mt respectively. The company also added that it had 25 alternative fuels co-processing projects operating or under construction with a capacity of 5Mt/yr.
Greece: Titan Cement’s turnover grew by 8% year-on-year to Euro1.51bn in 2016 from Euro1.4bn in 2015. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 28.7% to Euro279m from Euro216m. The group attributed its success to continuing growth in the US and a recovery in Egypt.
By region, the US was the main source of growth for the group providing 53% of sales and 52% of operating profit. Its turnover in the US grew by 169% in 2016 to Euro794m. In Greece cement consumption remained similar to 2015 and the group continued to export a large proportion of local production. Despite this both turnover and EBITDA fell. In southeast Europe the group reported mixed results with rising sales volumes, falling prices and turnover and rises in profitability. In Egypt the market picked up and grinding and solid fuels upgrades at Titan’s plants compensated for local currency devaluation. Subsequently, turnover grew by 3.5% to Euro249m. Finally, the group’s partly-owned subsidiary in Turkey, Adocim, reported a modest increases in profit despite local currency effects.
Nigeria/South Africa: Gas shortages in Nigeria significantly impaired Lafarge Africa’s performance in 2016 in addition to local currency devaluation and a recession. Overall the group’s sales, which include those in South Africa, fell by 18% year-on-year to US$716m in 2016 from US$871m in 2015. Its operating earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 57% to US$94.6m from US$219m. Despite these problems the cement producer’s results rallied in the fourth quarter of the year, aided by changes in fuel supplies and other cost savings.
“Our turnaround plan delivered solid results in the fourth quarter of 2016 in spite of the challenging environment in Nigeria and South Africa. Technical challenges have been resolved with all our plants operating at high reliability. Our energy optimisation plan has proved successful with increased use of alternative fuel to offset gas shortages,” said Michel Puchercos, the chief executive officer of Lafarge Africa. He added that the Mfamosing line 2 is now operational and contributed to cement production in the fourth quarter of 2016. The new line is expected to enhance cost reductions in 2017.
By region, the group’s cement sales volumes in Nigeria fell by 15.4% to 5.29Mt in 2016 from 6.26Mt in 2015. A similar decline in sales volumes was also reported in the fourth quarter. The cement producer declined to provide detailed information on its operations in South Africa saying that the operating environment was challenging and ‘highly’ competitive. It did report that sales volumes of cement fell by 8% in 2016.
Zambia: Lafarge Zambia’s export volumes of cement and clinker rose by 53% year-on-year in 2016. Domestic sales volumes fell by 42%, its sales revenue fell by 43% to US$93,000 and its profit before tax dropped significantly to US$13,000. The cement producer added that power supply issues had adversely impacted production costs at its Chilanga and Ndola plants. The company is positive in its outlook for 2017 and it is supplying building materials to large infrastructure projects including the Kafue Gorge Lower and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
Brazil: Magnesita’s revenue from its Industrial Refractory Solutions division rose by 3.3% year-on-year to US$144m in 2016 from US$140m in 2015. Its sales volumes grew by 10.2% to 147,000t from 133,000t. It attributed the gains to good performance in the Middle East, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region despite a declining cement industry in Brazil. Despite its success in its Industrial Refractory Solutions division the group reported falling overall refractory volumes and revenue in 2016 caused by decreases in steel production in South America and Europe. The company remains committed to merge with RHI by the end of 2017.
Philippines: Holcim Philippines posted higher sales despite increased competition in 2016. Its revenue grew by 7.5% to US$801m due to both higher volumes and prices. Operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 14% to US$215m.
The company’s net income reached US$135m, which benefited from a one-time gain of US$52m from the revaluation of Holcim Philippines’ investment in an affiliate. Without the one-off item in 2015, profits were higher by 24% in 2016.
Holcim Philippines Chief Operating Officer Sapna Sood said, “Ensuring stable supply is critical in these times of high building activity. Last year, we demonstrated our commitment to keep the market supplied by raising our production capacity and leaning on our strong regional network. As a result, we showed our customers we are a reliable partner, which helped us compete, even with the entry of new players.”
Kenya: Bamburi Cement’s profit rose slightly to US$57.4m in 2016 from US$57.2m in 2015. Its operating profit rose by 8% to US$76.7m from US$70.9m. However, its turnover fell by 3% to US$371m from US$382m. It blamed the fall in turnover on high competition, particularly in the individual homebuilding market. It also reported a fall in sales volumes of cement although this was offset by infrastructure and contractor markets in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. The cement producer added that the cement grinding plants it is building in Kenya and with its subsidiary Hima Cement in Uganda are on schedule to be completed in mid-2018.