Holcim profits rise despite charges

By Chris Sleight27 February 2013

Holcim’s net profit grew +50.4% last year to CHF 1.03 billion (US$ 1.1 billion), despite the company taking a total hit of CHF 975 million (US$ 1.04 billion) in restructuring charges and write-downs over the course of the year. Revenues were up +3.9% to CHF 21.5 billion (US$ 23.1 billion).

Many of the charges and write-downs Holcim incurred last year were related to its business in Europe. The company lowered cement capacity in Spain, reorganised its German ready-mixed concrete business and also made changes to its footprint in Belgium, France and Italy. Overall, it said it reduced its cement capacity in Europe by -10%, and also streamlined its management of the region. Outside Europe, it also adjusted its capacities in Argentina, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.

In volume terms, Holcim saw cement sales rise +2.5% to 148 million tonnes last year. However, aggregate sales were down -7.7% to 160 million tonnes, ready-mixed concrete volumes fell to 46.9 million m3 and asphalt sales were down -11.8% to 9.1 million tonnes.

Holcim said the strongest rises in cement sales were seen in North America, Asia and Latin America, which offset falls in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Commenting on the outlook for 2013, the company said in a statement, “Holcim anticipates an increase in sales of cement in 2013, but it will be challenging to reach the previous year’s levels in the aggregates and ready-mix concrete business. While Group regions Asia Pacific, North America and Latin America are expected to witness higher sales volumes, Holcim is somewhat less optimistic with regard to Europe and Africa-middle East.”

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