09 February 2024

Preliminary results financial year 2023

Cement sales 26.3 million tons (-7.0%), ready-mix concrete sales 10.0 million cubic meters (-12.7%)

Consolidated net sales at €4,317 million, improving compared to 2022 (€3,996 million), more evident on a like-for-like basis (+11.1%)

In the last quarter of the period operating performance of the various regions similar to that of the first nine months

For 2023 recurring EBITDA estimated at about €1,240 million, better than expected, despite the unfavorable foreign exchange effect


Consolidated figures   2023 2022 23/22
Cement sales t/000 26,343 28,332 -7.0%
Ready-mix concrete sales m3/000 10,050 11,510 -12.7%
Net sales €/m 4,317 3,996 +8.1%
    Dec 23 Dec 22 Change
Net financial position €/m 798 288 510


The Board of Directors of Buzzi SpA has met today to examine the preliminary figures for the financial year just ended.

During 2023, sales volumes achieved by the group contracted versus the level reached in the previous year. The generalized slowdown in deliveries, which was already highlighted in the first nine months of the year, continued during the last quarter in Central Europe, Poland and the Czech Republic, while Italy and the United States still recorded greater resilience. Looking at the regions consolidated line by line, prices in local currency generally strengthened compared to the previous year.

The increasingly evident effects of monetary restriction, the worsening of consumer and business confidence and the uncertainties dictated by the growing geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East continue to weigh on the international economic scenario. As a matter of fact, in the last part of the year global economic activity weakened further with international trade contracting during the third quarter. Manufacturing production continued to stagnate, while the dynamics of services lost momentum.
After a period of volatility in early October, crude oil and natural gas prices fell and remained at low levels, despite attacks on shipping traffic in the Red Sea. This evolution contributed to the progressive decline in overall global inflation, while underlying inflation, although slowing down, demonstrated greater persistence, especially in the advanced economies being characterized by a solid labor market.
In this context, the most updated estimates from the International Monetary Fund aim for a slowdown in global GDP growth in the two-year period 2023-2024, with an annual rate of 3.1%. In the United States, the economy demonstrated good resilience during the year, as also confirmed by the sustained increase in GDP recorded in the third quarter, driven by private consumption and public spending. However, indicators for the final months of the year suggest a slight deceleration, signaling greater financial pressure that is starting to weigh on the budgets of families and companies. Labor market conditions continue to be favorable and inflation, although easing, remains at high levels.
In the Eurozone, however, real GDP growth slowed further down in the third quarter, confirming the expected scenario of stagnation in economic activity. Private and public consumption grew moderately, while the subdued contribution of investments hides a clear contrast between the continuing contraction in construction and the favorable dynamics of non-construction investments. The divergence between sectors persists, with a modest positive trend recorded only in the services sector. The monthly indicators also highlight a subdued fourth quarter, characterized by a slowdown in the labor market too. As a matter of fact, the latest projections predict GDP growth of 0.5% in 2023, with a slight improvement in 2024 (0.9%).
In Italy, after the notable volatility of the first part of the year, in the third quarter GDP expanded moderately, mainly thanks to the increase in household consumption and to the partial recovery in construction investments. However, estimates for the final months of 2023 indicate stagnation. In fact, during the fourth quarter, manufacturing activity began to decline again, also due to the weak economic situation of the main trading partners, in particular Germany, while in services the signs of stabilization of added value were consolidated. On the demand side, the substantial stability of consumption was counteracted by a decline in investments, slowed down by the worsening of financing conditions.
As far as emerging countries are concerned, the second half of the year confirmed the expansionary dynamics of economic activity in Mexico, driven by solid domestic demand, as well as by a dynamic trend in construction and services.
In Brazil, however, following the exceptional growth in the first quarter, economic activity showed signs of weakening in the latter part of the year, albeit with a solid performance in consumer spending and a resilient labor market.

In the last quarter, the main central banks confirmed the monetary policy decisions implemented in the previous months. The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, as a matter of fact, kept the level of interest rates unchanged in the autumn months, therefore not fostering further monetary tightening. Among emerging markets, Mexico also made no changes to rates in the final part of the year. Conversely, the easing of monetary policy continued in Brazil with a reduction in benchmark rates implemented in December.

Cement sales of the group amounted to 26.3 million tons, decreasing by 7.0% compared to 2022. Ready-mix concrete output, equal to 10.0 million cubic meters, was also down compared to the volumes of last year (-12.7%). The positive price effect, however, more than offset the volume decrease, leading consolidated net sales for the financial year to increase from €3,995.5 to €4,317.5 million. There were no changes in the scope of consolidation, while exchange rates fluctuations, in particular the depreciation of the ruble, the dollar and the Ukrainian hryvnia, had an overall unfavorable impact of €123.5 million. Therefore, like for like net sales would have been up 11.1%.

Net sales breakdown by geographical area is as follows:

million euro 2023 2022 ∆ % ∆ % lfl
Italy 818.3 726.2 +12.7 +12.7
United States of America 1,742.7 1,591.8 +9.5 +12.4
Germany 872.0 798.8 +9.2 +9.2
Luxembourg and Netherlands 214.1 226.9 -5.6 -5.6
Czech Republic and Slovakia 204.8 201.2 +1.8 -0.3
Poland 156.7 141.3 +10.9 +7.5
Ukraine 85.6 59.8 +43.2 +66.4
Russia 284.6 290.4 -2.0 +22.8
Eliminations (61.3) (40.8)    
  4,317.5 3,995.5 +8.1 +11.1
Mexico (100%) 1,025.0 768.5 +33.4 +20.8
Brazil (100%) 394.0 400.2 -1.6 -2.3


The net financial position at the end of 2023, including long-term financial assets, is positive and amounts to €798.0 million, showing a favorable variance versus €288.2 million of year-end 2022 and the figure related to the first nine months of the year (€673.0 million).

The most recent estimates for the Italian economy point to stagnation of GDP in 2023 (+0.7%), while preliminary data highlight an average annual inflation rate of 5.7%, quite lower than in 2022, thanks to a decline in energy prices.
Construction investments also showed a stagnant trend during the year, burdened by the negative dynamics of the residential market. In fact, with the conclusion of the super incentive season, investments for the extraordinary maintenance of residential assets suffered a substantial contraction, while the effects of monetary restrictions and inflationary pressures weakened the new housing sector. However, the subdued private investments were partly offset by the increase in public spending, being the real driving force of the industry during the year. The acceleration in the implementation of the PNRR (Next Generation Europe) on the one hand supported the evolution of the non-residential segment, and on the other, favored the development of infrastructure projects (+15.8%). Domestic cement consumption is estimated to decline moderately (-1.5%).
During the autumn months, our sales of hydraulic binders and clinker recorded a rather positive trend, also thanks to the comparison with the not very brilliant fourth quarter of last year, closing 2023 slightly up. Ready-mix concrete output, instead, declined moderately. Prices did not undergo significant changes compared to the level reached in the first semester but, due to the carryover effect, they continued to be better than last year.
Based on these dynamics, net sales in Italy stood at €818.3 million, up 12.7% versus 2022.

United States of America
The most updated forecasts on the performance of the US economy indicate that GDP could grow by 2.5% in 2023, accompanied by a declining annual inflation rate of 3.4%. The construction sector demonstrated good resilience during the year, despite the subdued residential sector, burdened by difficult access to credit and inflationary pressures. Indeed, this negative trend contrasted with the significant increase in industrial investments, aimed at re-shoring activities, as well as infrastructure projects supported by government funds (IIJA). Domestic cement consumption is estimated to decline slightly compared to the previous year (-2.9%).
Despite the recovery recorded in the fourth quarter, our cement sales closed the year slightly declining compared to 2022, due to the general weakness in demand as well as some logistical difficulties along the Mississippi River. However, the decline in ready-mix concrete volumes continued in the final months of the year, also penalized by the shortage of drivers. Selling prices achieved a solid improvement compared to the previous year.
Overall net sales amounted to €1,742.7 million, up 9.5% compared to €1,591.8 million in 2022. The depreciation of the dollar (-2.7%) had a negative impact on the translation of the results into euro. At constant exchange rates net sales would have been up 12.4%.

Central Europe
In Germany, substantial stagnation of GDP is expected in 2023 (-0.3%) due to monetary tightening, inflationary pressures as well as weakened foreign demand. The difficult conditions of access to credit, the high construction costs and the significant reduction in public subsidies strongly penalized residential construction with particular reference to new buildings (-6.5%). The commercial and industrial sectors also suffered from the unfavorable economic scenario, while investments in infrastructure showed a greater, albeit still weak, rebound.
Our sales volumes of both hydraulic binders and ready-mix concrete continued to record a rather negative trend in the second half of the year, closing 2023 with a marked contraction. Average selling prices confirmed, on a yearly basis, the levels already achieved in the first nine months, therefore marking a substantial improvement versus the previous year.
At year-end, overall net sales thus came in at €872.0 million, up 9.2%, compared to €798.8 million in 2022.

In Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the performance of our cement sales in the fourth quarter continued to be affected by the significant decline in domestic demand and that of neighboring countries. Sales volumes, therefore, closed the year sharply contracting. Ready-mix concrete sales also followed a similar dynamic, but at slightly more moderate rates. Average prices maintained, for the whole of the year, the levels recorded in the first six month-period, preserving the marked strengthening compared to 2022, which however failed to balance the unfavorable demand. 
As a matter of fact, overall net sales  amounted to €214.1 million, down 5.6% compared to €226.9 million of the previous year.

Eastern Europe
In Poland, the strong weakening of private consumption led to a setback in GDP growth, which is expected to stagnate in 2023 (+0.6%). Although the forecasts for the construction market indicate a slowdown, it should still grow moderately over the year. The deceleration is mainly attributable to the negative trend of new residential constructions (-5%), more than offset by the acceleration of investments in infrastructure mainly linked to the energy and mining sectors.
In this context, our cement sales volumes maintained the rather negative dynamics of the first half of the year, closing  down by a double-digit percentage. Ready-mix concrete sales have also been contracting, albeit at a more favorable pace in the second half of the year. In 2023, the improvement in price levels remained solid.
Net sales came in at €156.7 million, up 10.9% compared to €141.3 million in 2022. The strengthening of the zloty (3.1%) resulted in a moderate positive contribution: at constant exchange rate, net sales would have been up 7.5%.

Also in the Czech Republic, the most recent estimates indicate stagnation in GDP in 2023, due to the inflationary pressures that continue to weigh on families and companies. The markedly negative development of new residential constructions (-15%) weighed heavily on the performance of the construction sector, despite the good dynamics in the industrial and logistics segments. Instead, the trend of restructuring and renovation projects contributed favorably thanks to state subsidies mainly aimed at the energy transition. 
Our cement and ready-mix concrete sales, after contracting in the first semester, continued to record a weak dynamic, closing the year clearly down, however in line with the general direction of the market. The price level consolidated a clear strengthening compared to 2022.
Consolidated net sales amounted to €204.8 million, slightly up (1.8%) compared to 2022, also due to the appreciation of the Czech koruna (+2.3%). At constant exchange rate, as a matter of fact, the turnover would have recorded figures in line with the previous year (-0.3%).

In Ukraine, the military operations continue to hinder normal market conditions. Despite rising energy costs and wages, the measures taken by the central bank to preserve the sustainability of the currency market, together with tariffs on public utilities and the increase in the supply of food products, allowed inflationary pressures to be eased.
In this context, our cement sales volumes 2023 largely recovered, mainly due to the comparison with the last period, in which production had suffered long stops due to the outbreak of the conflict. Ready-mix concrete sales closed the year on the rise but far from pre-war levels. Sales prices confirmed a marked strengthening compared to 2022.
Net sales stood at €85.6 million, up compared to €59.8 million recorded in 2022 (+43.2%). The depreciation of the local currency (-16.2%) had a negative impact on the translation of the turnover into euro. At constant exchange rate net sales would have been up 66.4%.

In Russia, a recovery in GDP is expected with an estimated growth rate of 3% for 2023, mainly due to high levels of military spending and private consumption supported by wage growth.
Volumes sold recorded a moderately favorable trend. Selling prices in local currency also consolidated a clear improvement compared to the previous year, but the depreciation of the ruble (-25.2%) significantly affected the translation of results into euros.
As a matter of fact, net sales stood at €284.6 million, slightly down from the €290.4 million of last year (-2.0%). At constant exchange rates, however, revenues would have been up 22.8%.

Mexico (valued by the equity method)
The Mexican economy continues its expansionary phase with a forecast of GDP growth in 2023 of +3.4%, a synthesis of resilient consumption, growing investments and a vigorous labor market which records unemployment rates at historic lows. Overall inflation continued its decline, reaching 4.66% on an annual basis in December, although inflationary pressures remain particularly high in the services sector. Foreign demand proved solid, mainly supported by the recovery in automotive exports. Industrial activity continued to have a positive trend driven by the construction sector. In particular, investments in machinery and equipment linked to near-shoring projects favored non-residential construction, while the infrastructure sector benefited from high public spending and numerous projects in the South of the country.
Cement and ready-mix concrete volumes realized by our joint venture closed 2023 up compared to last year. Sale prices, in local currency, also confirmed the marked strengthening achieved in the first nine months of the year. With reference to 100% of the joint venture, for 2023 as a whole, net sales came in at €1,025.0 million, up 33.4% on the previous year, with an appreciation of the Mexican peso (+9.5%) which favorably impacted the translation into euro: at constant exchange rate net sales would have been up 20.8%.

Brazil (valued by the equity method)
In the first months of the year, the Brazilian economy was characterized by sustained growth, thanks to exceptional liveliness in agricultural activity, the resilient performance of the tertiary sector and stable consumption supported by fiscal stimuli. The data relating to the third quarter, however, highlighted a scenario of deceleration, in line with GDP growth expectations for 2023 (+3%). In particular, the construction and manufacturing sectors recorded a negative trend year on year, in contrast with the positive dynamics of services. On the demand side, the divergence persists between the decline in investments, more impacted by financial conditions and future uncertainties, and consumption, which once again surprised on the upside. The strengthened labor market, social assistance programs and the general disinflationary trend, as a matter of fact, continue to improve the purchasing power of families.
Volumes of our joint venture closed 2023 slightly declining, being also affected by the negative effect of the heavy rains that fell in the South-East region during the first quarter. Prices in local currency, however, remained essentially stable year on year.
With reference to 100% of the joint venture, net sales amounted to €394.0 million, slightly declining (-1.6%) versus €400.2 million of the previous year. Net of the revaluation of the Brazilian real (+0.7%) net sales would have been down 2.3%.

Outlook 2023
The year 2023 ended essentially in line with the trend recorded in the first nine months, confirming, on the one hand, the weak evolution of demand in most of the reference markets and, on the other, the strengthening of the price level which, at a consolidated level, more than offset the volume effect.
Looking at the economic outcome, based on the preliminary information available, we expect that the consolidated financial statements for the 2023 financial year may close with a recurring EBITDA of approximately €1,240 million, somewhat better than the guidance disclosed at the beginning of November, despite the unfavorable foreign exchange effect. This is an oustanding result, the best ever attained in the history of the company. The commitment and dedication expressed by the entire corporate structure contributed significantly to the achievement of this remarkable success.


Alternative performance measures
Buzzi Unicem uses in its financial disclosure some alternative performance measures that, although widespread, are not defined or specified by the accounting practice. Pursuant to Consob Communication no. 92543/2015 and the guidelines ESMA/2015/1415 set out below is the definition of the measures which have been used in this disclosure.

Net financial position: it is a measure of the capital structure determined by the difference between financial liabilities and assets, both short and long term. Such items include all interest-bearing liabilities or assets and those connected to them, such as derivatives and accruals.


The manager responsible for preparing the company’s financial reports, Elisa Bressan, declares, pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 154 bis of the Consolidated Law on Finance, that the accounting information contained in this press release corresponds to the document results, books and accounting records.


Company contacts:
Investor Relations Assistant
Ileana Colla
Phone +39 0142 416404