The group revenues were increased in 2018 by 6 % to € 3 305.1 mill., as compared to € 3 119.7 mill in the previous year.
Like-for-like EBITDA increased by 15 % to approx. € 469.3 mill. (as compared to € 406.5 mill. in the previous year). A positive impact came from Fast Forward 2020, the optimization programme launched in 2018, which contributed around € 20 mill. to the EBITDA in first year. The net profit improved by 8 % to € 133.5 mill. (from € 123.2 mill, in 2017).
In the business year 2018, Wienerberger invested considerably more in acquisitions and plant expansions. The total investments increased to € 325.2 mill. (2017: € 206.3 mill.).
Clay Building Materials Europe Division
The European brick business delivered a highly satisfactory performance in 2018. Notable growth was achieved in Eastern Europe. The business in Western Europe also recorded substantial growth in a stable environment, but was adversely impacted by cost of structural adjustments. The Division’s revenues grew by 7 % from € 1 787.0 mill. to € 1 918.8 mill. LFL EBITDA increased significantly by 18 % to € 367.1 mill.
North America Division
The Division’s strong growth in 2018 was supported by positive contributions from the Group’s previous-year acquisition in the North American brick market. The Division’s revenues of € 306.8 mill. remained almost stable at the previous year’s level (€ 308.7 mill.), while LFL EBITDA improved significantly by 23 % to € 38.6 mill.
Strategic measures and outlook for 2019
In conjunction with its Fast Forward 2020 initiatives, Wienerberger has streamlined its existing organization to make it even more efficient.
As of the beginning of 2019, the Group’s European building materials operations have been grouped within the Wienerberger Building Solutions Business Unit. The goal is to further enlarge its offer in the wall, façade, roof and paver segments and to strengthen its presence in the relevant European markets. Innovations, new products and selective acquisitions will play an important role in this context.
The North America Division will continue to pursue its strategy aimed at organic growth and regional expansion through selective bolt-on acquisitions.
Wienerberger expects to see a stable to slightly growing European new residential housing market in 2019. The infrastructure market in Eastern Europe will continue to benefit from the increasing up-take of EU funding. In North America, Wienerberger anticipates a slightly positive development in new residential housing construction and growing demand in the infrastructure segment.
For 2019, Wienerberger aims to achieve an EBITDA on a like-for-like basis of between € 560 and 580 mill.