In the second quarter of 2011 too, Wienerberger AG was able to increase its revenues by 8% and operating EBITDA by 11%. Wienerberger recorded an increase of 19% in revenues to € 986 mill. and 58% in the operating EBITDA to € 123 mill. for the first six months of 2011. These results returned the brick producer to the profit zone. The sound earnings growth was driven by volume increases and an improvement in capacity utilization as well as cost reduction measures and successfully implemented price increases. The clay brick and tile company recorded a net profit of € 38 mill., compared with a loss of € 39 mill. for the first half of 2010. The improvement in earnings led to a significant € 44 mill. year-on-year rise in the gross cash flow to € 108 mill. for the reporting period.
Wienerberger recorded a sound performance in Central-East Europe. The positive trend continued in Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Finland and the Baltic States, but construction activity in the other East European countries remained weak. Housing starts declined further in Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and the smaller Southeast European markets. Central-East Europe recorded a year-on-year increase of 17% in revenues to € 273 mill. and 45% in operating EBITDA to € 44 mill.
Germany and Switzerland were the growth drivers for Central West Europe. Revenues in this segment rose by 19% to € 207 mill. and operating EBITDA increased by an impressive 80% to € 18 mill.
The positive development of new residential construction in North-West Europe, above all in France and Belgium, as well as strong momentum in the renovation sector across the entire region led to sound volume growth in roof tiles and clay blocks. Revenues in this segment rose by 15% to € 416 mill. The operating EBITDA could be improved by 42% from € 50 mill. to € 71 mill.
In North America, which generates 6% of Group revenues, new residential construction failed to meet expectations during the second quarter after a severe winter. Revenues totalled € 62 mill., or 14% below the prior year level of € 72 mill., while the operating EBITDA fell to € - 5 mill. in the first six months of 2011 based on stable average prices but against the backdrop of declining capacity utilization.
The positive trend is expected to continue on most of the West European markets as well as Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia during the second half-year. In contrast, the market environment in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the smaller countries of Southeast Europe will most likely remain difficult. There are also no signs of recovery in North America at the present time.
Heimo Scheuch, CEO at Wienerberger AG, sees future growth opportunities for the Group, above all, in products and systems for energy-efficient and sustainable construction. Wienerberger has focused on this subject for many years and, together with building technology specialists, developed the e4Brickhouse 2020 – a future-oriented model house for sustainable construction.