Acquisitions drive Holcim growth

By Chris Sleight04 May 2010

Holcim's revenues for the first quarter of the year were up +4,8% on the same period in 2009 to CHF 4.74 billion (€ 3,3 billion). However, like-for-like sales, excluding the impact of acquisitions were down -3,3%. Although the company's operating performance improved, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDTA) rising +19,1% to CHF 909 million (€ 634 million), the company made a net loss of CHF 68 million (€ 47 million) due to restructuring charges from its North American operations.

Holcim described markets in the first three months of the year as varied, saying in a statement, "It was a mixed picture in the global construction markets during the first quarter of 2010. While most emerging markets continued to grow, heavy snowfall and a weak economy further restrained construction activity in Europe and North America."

The company's growth in revenues was largely due to its expansion in Australia, following the acquisition of Cemex's businesses in the country last summer. AS a result of this expansion, Holcim as a whole sold +17,5% more aggregates, +4,4% more cement and +9,2% more ready mixed concrete in the first quarter of this year than from January to March 2009.

As far as the overall market outlook was concerned, Holcim remained cautious, saying, "The market trend in Group regions Europe and North America remains uncertain. Only over the coming months will it become clear whether the weak demand in the first quarter of 2010 was due more to the hard winter or to the general adverse economic conditions. However, in Latin America and Group region Africa Middle East, Holcim expects business to develop on a stable footing. Asia Pacific will remain on track for growth."

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