Holcim first quarter hit by crisis and weather

By Steve Skinner06 May 2009

Holcim recorded first quarter sales of € 4,5 billion, down -18% on the € 5,5 billion reported for the same period in 2008. Pre-tax profits for the quarter fell -33,7% to € 763 million, down from € 1,1 billion 12 months previously.

A statement said sales in Europe and the US suffered from the global economic downturn and the severe and prolonged winter. Organic growth in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region as well as progress in India benefitted the group, but the overall decline in deliveries of building materials hit sales.

"The global crisis combined with the weather-related sluggish start to the year in many construction markets confirms that 2009 will be a difficult year," said Rolf Soiron, chairman of the board. "In Europe and North America, the next few months will show to what extent the decline in demand for building materials is attributable to the hard winter as opposed to the recessionary environment."

Outlook

Looking forwards, Mr Soiron said, "Because of the difficult economic environment, the board of directors are still unable to make any predictions about our 2009 performance. We will continue implementing our cost-cutting programs and we believe the quick shutdown of excess capacity will offset the effects of the decline in sales.

"The priority is to ensure the financial stability of the group," said Mr Soiron.

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