Revenues at group level increased by 5 % to a record level of € 3.5 bill. (2018: € 3.3 bill.). EBITDA LFL grew significantly by 24 % to € 587 mill. (2018: € 475 mill.). With a 38-% rise in EBITDA to € 610 mill. (2018: € 443 mill.), Wienerberger surpassed its € 600-mill. target set for 2020.
Growth in revenues was primarily attributable to an improved product mix. The focus on innovative product solutions and the exit from less profitable operating segments, combined with intensified measures to enhance the Group’s economic performance, translated into clearly measurable success. The implementation of the performance-enhancing Fast Forward programme is progressing faster than planned and has delivered an incremental contribution to EBITDA of € 50 mill. (€ 10 mill. ahead of the original plan).
On the basis of this strong operating performance, Wienerberger’s profit after tax rose substantially by 87 % to € 249 mill. (2018: € 134 mill.).
Significant earnings growth in all business units
In 2019, Wienerberger recorded strong developments in each of its three business units.
Wienerberger Building Solutions reported 6-% revenue growth to € 2 171 mill. and a significant 23-% increase in EBITDA LFL to € 455 mill. Wienerberger Piping Solutions, benefiting from improvements to its product mix and an optimized cost structure, reported substantial growth in earnings. The North America Business Unit reported revenues of € 336 mill., up by 9 % on the previous year. The brick producer in Pennsylvania acquired at the end of 2018 delivered a strong contribution to EBITDA, which rose by 18 % to € 43 mill.
Focus on sustainable growth
Energy-efficient brick solutions and innovative piping systems such as Raineo will improve the quality of life and positively contribute to our environment. Digitalization of processes and pre-fabricated solutions will increase the efficiency at construction sites and help to save resources at the same time. In addition, Wienerberger will step up its efforts aimed at preserving biodiversity, promoting the circular economy and pushing for decarbonization. With these objectives in mind, the percentage of secondary raw materials for the production of plastic pipes is to be further increased to 85 kg per tonne for this year. By recultivating depleted clay pits, Wienerberger is creating valuable habitats for plants and animals and thus actively contributing to biodiversity. Furthermore, through its intensive efforts, Wienerberger is promoting a further reduction of specific energy consumption in its brick plants.
For 2020, Wienerberger expects its business to continue operating in mostly flat to slightly softening end-markets. The target set for 2020 is to increase the Wienerberger Group’s EBITDA LFL to € 625 – 645 mill. This will be achieved through intensive performance enhancement measures under the Fast Forward programme, which will contribute a further €50 mill. to EBITDA and thus successfully complete the performance improvement of €120 mill. in total. Through an active pricing policy, rising cost inflation will be offset, and with continuous efforts to upgrade the product mix, Wienerberger will further increase profitability. In addition, with its focus on innovation and a promising M&A growth pipeline, Wienerberger will continue to strengthen its position as a solution provider for the building envelope and infrastructure. Wienerberger plans to invest €140 mill. in 2020 in the maintenance of its industrial platforms and in continued improvement of its health and safety standards.