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Heidelberg Materials may shut plants if power prices stay high

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HEIDELBERG — Heidelberg Materials, the world’s second-largest cement maker, may have to shut down plants in Germany if power prices remain at elevated levels, its chief executive said, heaping pressure on the government to put a cap on prices.

“If power prices won’t come down sustainably, we would have to take individual plants in Germany completely off the grid. That’s what we have prepared for,” Dominik von Achten said on Tuesday.

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The company, formerly known as HeidelbergCement, is shifting production to days when power prices are lower, including during the weekend, von Achten told reporters, saying this was a testament to workers’ flexibility.

That would require staff at some of its European sites not to come into work during the working week, von Achten said, adding this required ongoing discussions with labor unions.

Heidelberg Materials expects its energy bill to climb by around 1 billion euros ($960 million) in 2022, up from 2.1 billion last year, Chief Financial Officer Rene Aldach said.

To soften the blow, von Achten called for a cap on gas and power prices to protect jobs and production.

($1 = 1.0417 euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz Editing by Tom Sims and Mark Potter)



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