Holcim's sales fell 3.1% to CHF19.1 billion (€17.8 billion) for the 2014 full-year.

Its operating profit was down 1.7% to CHF2.32 billion (€2.2 billion) for 2014, although it increased its overall sales of cement last year from 138.9 million tonnes in 2013, to 140.3 tonnes in 2014.

Holcim said an unfavourable exchange rates and costs linked to consolidating its operations affected its financial performance. However, it said that on a like-for-like basis sales were up 3% year-on-year.

And the company recorded positive fourth quarter results, with improved sales of CHF4.89 billion (€4.5 billion) against CHF4.8 billion (€4.4 billion) for the same period in 2013.

Fourth quarter operating profit also improved year-on-year to CHF589 million (€548 million), against CHF559 million (€520 million) for the fourth quarter last year.

The company confirmed its planned merger with Lafarge remained fully on-track and is due to be completed in the first half of this year. It said the deal would create what is believed to be the largest cement group in the world, with combined assets worth €40 billion.

In its outlook for 2015, it said that it expected key construction markets including the US, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the UK and the Philippines would be the drivers for growth.

CEO Bernard Fontana said, “Holcim achieved a solid like-for-like performance in the financial year with a strong fourth quarter. The group further increased its profitability and recorded a higher operating profit margin.”

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