Rebounding volumes in India drive Group region’s net sales
Both Indian Group companies of Holcim have from the more promising situation in construction markets in the country. Ambuja Cements and ACC increased top line in the year under review and benefited from various commercial initiatives across the country that opened new markets and increased sales of premium products. Cement deliveries in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh increased as well. In the year under review Holcim increased its cement grinding capacities in Meghnaghat, Bangladesh.
Cement volumes at Holcim Vietnam decreased. However, the Group company, which is mainly active in the southern part of the country recorded an increase in bagged cement sales building on a stronger premium position, but bulk cement and ready-mix concrete volumes declined. Cement shipments in Malaysia declined following a very good year in 2013, and in Singapore ready-mix concrete volumes were also down, reflecting the challenges in the local construction industry overall.
Holcim Philippines reported a strong increase in cement volumes as the government continued to fund infrastructure projects, while the positive business environment has emboldened the private sector to push through with expansion plans.
Volume development in Indonesia was positive for cement and aggregates, while ready-mix concrete deliveries were flat. In cement, the implementation of Customer Excellence initiatives and the opening of new markets contributed to the development which was particularly strong for bagged cement. The new kiln line of the Tuban I plant in East Java was commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Cement Australia increased like-for-like cement volumes despite lower demand from the resources sector. In 2014 the Group company started production at its new Port Kembla grinding station, south of Sydney. Holcim Australia was impacted by the decline in resource sector investment as large-scale projects, particularly in Western Australia, were completed in the course of 2014. Subsequently, aggregates volumes declined. In response to a continuing low growth environment and the decline of resource sector investment, Holcim Australia adjusted its footprint and reduced headcount to be more agile and effective. Ready-mix concrete shipments increased however. Holcim New Zealand increased cement volumes in a very competitive market and has decided to move to an import strategy by building two new terminals. Aggregates deliveries were up as well.
Consolidated cement volumes in the Group region Asia Pacific were up 1.4 percent to 71.2 million tonnes in 2014. In aggregates, volumes declined 1.5 percent to 24.8 million tonnes mainly due to the development at Holcim Australia. Ready-mix concrete deliveries were down slightly by 0.8 percent to 10.8 million cubic meters. Consolidated net sales in Asia Pacific reached CHF 6.97 billion, a decline of 4.3 percent mainly due to negative foreign exchange effects.