STRABAG SE, Central and Eastern Europe's largest construction company, has announced its figures for the first six months 2011. Although the break-even point in the earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) is reached normally not until the third quarter due to the high seasonality of the construction business, it has already shown a positive 16.67 million in the first half of 2011.
Hans Peter Haselsteiner, CEO of STRABAG SE, comments on the figures: "The first months of the previous year were characterized by a very long winter. This year's weather conditions allowed us to begin building significantly earlier, which is why we are pleased to report of double-digit growth of the output volume at the halfway point.
"We also have good news on the earnings side: last year's earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were significantly positively distorted by a one-off effect in the balance sheet. This makes it that much more remarkable that, for the first time in company history, we have registered a positive EBIT already at the half-year mark. We already raised our forecast for the full year 2011 and beyond during the presentation of the interim report for January-March 2011.
"Today I would like to confirm this outlook. We expect an output volume of 14.0 billion in 2011 and of 14.3 billion in 2012. The EBIT should come to rest at least at 320 million this year and at 330 million next year."
Output volume and revenue
STRABAG generated an output volume of 6,136.33 million in the first half of 2011, which corresponds to an increase of 17 %. Owing to unfavorable weather conditions, a significant decline in the output volume had been registered in the previous year. Increases could be seen in all segments this year. Especially worth mentioning here is the growth in the home market of Germany, in Poland and in Scandinavia. The consolidated group revenue of the first six months of the 2011 financial year grew in line with the output volume, reaching 5,917.32 million after 5,034.97 million in the same period the year before (+18 %).
The order backlog reached a relatively high level in a multi-year comparison; at 14,878.81 million, however, it was still 6 % lower than at the end of June of the previous year. This can be attributed for the most part to the cancellation of the projects in Libya due to the political unrest in that country.
Poland is another factor of influence: the previous year's high order backlog in that country, in the form of large infrastructure projects, is being continuously worked off and transformed into output. In Austria and Romania, by comparison, the order backlog is on the rise with projects including the Koralm Tunnel in Styria and several new road construction orders in Romania.
The EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the first six months of the 2011 financial year rose by 6 % to 197.18 million on good earnings contributions from Germany and Poland. This growth is that much more remarkable as an extraordinary revaluation through profit or loss for Czech railway construction company Viamont DSP in the amount of 24.60 million, reported in the result from associates, led to a positive distortion of the EBITDA last year. This fact, however, limited the growth opportunities of the EBITDA and led to a reduced EBITDA margin from 3.7 % to 3.3 %.
The depreciation and amortization fell by 8 % to -180.52 million in part related to a one-time amortization of goodwill in the amount of -14.00 million performed in the first quarter of the previous year related to the Viamont transaction. Below the line, this resulted in something exceptional: for the first time in company history, STRABAG reached the break-even point in the EBIT in the second quarter instead of the third quarter as usual. The EBIT thus moved from -10.36 million in the same period the year before to 16.67 million, while the margin rose to 0.3 % from -0.2 %.
At -4.13 million, the interest income in the fir