Strabag chief executive promises response to tougher trading conditions
First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
Strabag chief executive, Hans Peter Haselsteiner, has spoken of the need for the Group to respond to tougher future trading conditions after its half year 2012 earnings fell, as expected, substantially from 2011 levels.
New figures published by the Austrian construction giants revealed that its EBITDA was € 16.14 million between January 1 and June 30, 2012, down 92% on the € 197.18 million achieved over the same period the year before.
A Group statement released along with the figures said that the EBITDA results were mostly due to ‘non-operating effects’ in the second quarter of 2012. These included the € 43 million in damage compensation that Strabag was ruled to pay by an arbitral tribunal regarding its failed acquisition of Cemex activities in Hungary and Austria, a ruling which Strabag has appealed, and noteworthy transfers of losses by consortia.
Speaking on the 2012 half year trading figures, Haselsteiner said: “If we want to manage the future, we will have to create the best possible conditions for doing so. Things will certainly become more difficult than we are accustomed to. The challenge will be to position the group in such a way that we have the decisive competitive advantage, that we belong to the ones who prosper. This is what I see as my task.”
In July 2012, the Strabag board said the Group’s “more than ambitious” € 300 million projected EBIT could now only be reached by “about two thirds”. Reasons given by the board for the reduced target included the delays of public authorities in Central and Eastern Europe in dealing with claims, especially in Poland; the cautious valuation of some construction projects; and the “ruinous price war” in the raw materials business.
Meanwhile, further new Strabag figures revealed that the Group’s output volume fell by just 2% to € 6.036 billion, compared to € 6.136 billion in the first six months of 2011. Order backlog reached € 15.124 billion at June 30, 2012, up 2% on the € 14.878 billion in the first half of 2011.