In its January 2013 forecast, the International Monetary Fund expects a slightly increased growth for the global economy compared to the previous year, provided that the advanced economies of North America and Europe continue their efforts to resolve the debt crisis and consolidate their budgets. There are still risks for the global economy resulting from the high indebtedness of the USA, the euro debt crisis, and armed conflicts in the Middle East.
In North America, the company expects a continuing economic recovery and consequently a further increasing demand for building materials, especially from residential construction and the raw materials industry. In Europe and Central Asia, Heidelberg Cement anticipates a divided development: while markets in Germany, Northern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia should remain stable or continue growing, a weak development of the economy and demand for building materials is expected in all other regions. In Asia and Africa, the company expects a sustained positive demand.
“Due to the continuing strong economic growth in the emerging markets and the recovery in the USA, we are cautiously confident for the future”, says Dr. Bernd Scheifele. “Macroeconomic risks have recently eased, but still remain significant. The need for countries to deleverage will likely dampen volume growth in mature markets for the foreseeable future. In addition, we still have not recovered the margin loss from massively increasing energy costs over the past years. Therefore, we will unabatedly continue our efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiency and will continue to right-size capacities where necessary.”
“Since our “FOX 2013” programme clearly exceeded expectations in 2012, we increased the three-year cumulated cash saving target to EUR 1.01 billion compared with the original goal of EUR 600 million. We will put special focus on price increases in 2013. For this purpose we started the projects “PERFORM” for cement in the USA and Europe and “CLIMB Commercial” for aggregates last year in order to achieve EUR 350 million margin improvement by 2015. Deleveraging remains the highest priority for us, in order to regain our investment grade rating. We will also continue our successful strategy of targeted investments to expand cement capacities in the growth markets of Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Due to commissioning of further plants during the next months, we will increase our cement capacities in emerging markets by more than 5 million tonnes in 2013.”
“We will benefit from two important factors in 2013”, says Dr. Bernd Scheifele. “On the one hand our continuous investment through the crisis in new cement capacities in strongly growing emerging markets is paying off, now. Meanwhile, we have a strong footprint in these regions with more than 60% of our worldwide cement capacities. In addition, we benefit from our strong market presence and the continuing market recovery in our Group area North America that contributes about 25% of our revenue.”
The complete consolidated financial statements of Heidelberg Cement including the outlook will be published on 14 March 2013.