Australia: Adelaide Brighton to increase alternative fuel use amid strong 2014 results

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Updated Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:06:32 GMT

Adelaide Brighton boss Martin Brydon said that he would pursue funding from the Abbott Government's US$2.55bn Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) as Adelaide Brighton accelerates its alternative fuel use to head off its rising gas bill. The ERF is the centre-piece of the government's direct action climate policy and the first auction for funding starts on 15 April 2015.

Adelaide Brighton has a total energy bill of around US$130m/yr. Brydon said that the group will save US$6m/yr from the repeal of the carbon tax. "We are energy-intensive and capital-intensive. Anything that happens that can reduce the cost of energy is critical," said Brydon.

Adelaide Brighton's Birkenhead cement plant in south Australia, which recently expanded its cement production capacity to 750,000t/yr, generates 15% of its energy from waste wood used in construction. Brydon said that he plans to take that number to 30% and that he 'will certainly' be bidding for grants from the ERF. "The cost of that waste wood energy is significantly below the cost of natural gas," said Brydon.

In 2014, Adelaide Brighton reported a 14.3% rise in net profit to US$136m and a 9% rise in revenue to US$1.06bn. The profit and revenue numbers were both records for the company, although after stripping out one-off items the underlying profit was US$132m. Strong residential housing activity in NSW and Queensland, work on the Pacific Highway upgrade and ongoing demand from resource projects in western Australia and the northern regions buoyed sales. Adelaide Brighton said that it expects price increases in 2015 across all of its products.

In August 2014 the company acquired two concrete businesses and a quarry. Brydon said that he is looking for other businesses to buy, but opportunities for quality long-term assets were 'few and far between.'