Italcementi, the world’s No. 5 cement maker, is looking at emerging markets for possible acquisitions as continued weakness in construction activity in mature countries contributed to a wider quarterly loss.
Italy’s biggest cement group, which makes half of its revenue in central and western Europe, posted a first-quarter net loss three times wider than in 2009, citing the weak global economy and a harsh winter in Europe and North America.
"We are considering some possible acquisitions. Our analysis continues. Of course the focus is on strategic areas (such as) India, Morocco, Egypt and the Mediterranean (area) as a priority," Chief Operating Officer Giovanni Ferrario told a conference call.
Family-controlled Italcementi said its net loss widened to €37.5 million ($50.3 million) in the first quarter of 2010 and recurring EBITDA fell 28 percent to €135.7 million, it said in a statement, both missing expectations.
The group said the coming months would continue to be difficult but confirmed its guidance for flat to slightly higher sales volumes in 2010. April cement sales volumes rose 3 percent after a fall of 5 percent in the first quarter.
France’s Lafarge, the world’s largest cement maker, on Wednesday said it expected demand to start to recover in developed countries in the second half of the year.
"The results were negative, lower than my estimates and below consensus and the outlook is not reassuring. There will probably be a downward revisions by analysts on 2010 earnings, ratings and price targets," a Milan analyst said.