(Adds details on Ukraine)
MILAN, March 27 Italian cement maker Buzzi
Unicem expects the crisis in Ukraine to limit an
expected improvement in recurring core earnings this year driven
by a healthy U.S. market and budding recovery in Europe.
The Piedmont-based company swung to a net loss of 29 million
euros ($39.98 million) in 2013, hit by a 114 million euro
impairment charge including writedowns of fixed assets both in
Italy and abroad.
Buzzi Unicem, which runs plants in both Ukraine and Russia,
wrote off almost 40 million euros worth of plants and goodwill
in the country at the centre of a standoff between the Kremlin
and Western countries.
Recurring earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) rose 1.9 percent last year to 456 million
euros as strong U.S. and Central European markets more than
offset weakness in Eastern Europe, Mexico and Italy.
Buzzi expects 2014 recurring EBITDA to be in line or
slightly above last year's.
The depreciation of Ukraine and Russia's currencies hit
revenues generated in the two countries last year and could
damage earnings this year.
"Should the devaluation of the (Ukrainian) currency, which
has already lost more than 30 percent compared with 2013,
continue in the next months, operating results once converted
into euros will very likely be lower than in the previous year,"
Sales in Ukraine and Russia accounted for 4.5 percent and 9
percent respectively of Buzzi's total sales last year.
The company proposed a dividend of 0.05 euros per share.
Shares in Buzzi were down by 1.6 percent at 1559 GMT against
a flat Italian blue-chip index.
($1 = 0.7254 Euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by David Goodman)