The Belgian construction materials company is on track for record results this year, despite the downturn in the construction industry. Etex has finally found a solution for its activities in Russia.
Etex has exited Russia. It has divested its two local factories, as reported in the company’s semi-annual report.
Earlier this year, the company indicated that it was close to finding a solution. “But we don’t want to give the Russian buyer a gift. At the same time, we want a fair solution for our employees who have always remained loyal,” said CEO Bernard Delvaux a few months ago.
These factories were part of Ursa, the Spanish company that Etex had acquired just before the war in Ukraine. At the onset of the invasion, Etex separated the activities from the rest of the company. Since then, there have been no financial transactions between Etex and the Russian business, and exports to Russia have also been discontinued. Russia accounted for 2 percent of the group’s total revenue before the war.
The loss of that revenue has already been more than compensated for by Etex, as evident from the half-year results. The company is known for the brand Eternit and produces plasterboards, fiber cement boards, and insulation materials. It is also active in timber frame construction. Etex is largely owned by the discreet and wealthy Emsens family. A small portion of the shares is listed on the Euronext Expert Market.
“In the first half of 2023, Etex faced a general slowdown in the construction sector, both in new construction and renovation,” it says. “There was a minor impact on sales volumes, but the margins remained strong.”
Revenue increased by 12 percent to over 2 billion euros, driven by price increases and the inclusion of acquisitions in the figures. The recurring gross operating profit (rebitda) increased even faster, by 15 percent to 397 million euros.