Losses at cement company widen to €4.2m

FIRST-QUARTER losses at building materials provider Readymix widened by €400,000 to €4.2 million this year, with revenue for the first three months of the year down by 27%, year-on-year.

At its annual general meeting yesterday, the Dublin-based cement products company said revenues are likely to continue their fall over the remainder of 2011.

This, according to the company’s board, “will be driven by continuing poor volumes and ongoing pressure on prices in all of our product markets”.

The company’s chairman, Adrian Auer, said that the fall in first-quarter revenues was mainly driven by a drop in volumes across all products.

“In an exceptionally competitive market, prices across a number of our key product lines also continue to come under increasing pressure,” Mr Auer told shareholders.

“For the remainder of 2011, the board expects revenues to continue to fall versus the same period of 2010.”

The latest update follows on from last month’s publication of Readymix’s full-year 2010 results, which showed a €30m fall in revenue to €52.5m and also a widening in annual losses from €13.7m to €19.8m.

However, while yesterday’s figures were no real surprise, market reaction wasn’t totally downbeat.

Robert Gardner of Davy Stockbrokers said: “The update is as we expected. Trading remains difficult in an intensely competitive environment.

“Despite this, we see value in Readymix due to the strength of the group’s underlying assets.

“The last reported [net asset value] was 77c, while the mineral reserves alone are worth 35c per share,” Mr Gardner said.

Readymix management did not, however, comment on weekend reports that its majority owner, Mexican-based building materials giant Cemex, is preparing to de-list Readymix.

The Irish business has recently said that discussions towards selling the company came to nothing, before updating that it could sell off a number of assets and subsidiaries instead.

A d-listing move could involve some asset sales in Ireland.


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