Holcim sees flat profit

By Helen Wright09 May 2012

Cement and aggregates producer Holcim reported first quarter net profit of CHF116 million (€97 million) - a flat result on a like-for-like basis compared to the same period in 2011.

Revenues were up 7.1% year-on-year to CHF4.8 billion (€3.9 billion). Holcim said good economic conditions in Asia Pacific and Latin America and growing demand for construction materials in North America, Africa and the Middle East had boosted sales.

"However, in contrast to last year's mild climate, the harsh winter brought many construction sites in Western and Eastern Europe to a temporary standstill in February. Hence, sales volumes decreased in this group region in all segments and impacted first quarter results," the company said.

Holcim saw sales in Europe drop 10.2% year-on-year to CHF1.2 billion (€967 million). In contrast, Asia Pacific sales were up 15.2% to CHF2.2 billion (€1.8 billion) in the first quarter, while Latin American sales rose 12% to CHF854 million (€711 million), North American sales jumped 16.6% to CHF478 million (€398 million), and Africa and Middle East sales increased 14.6% to CHF239 million (€199 million).

The company said it expected demand for building materials to continue to rise in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, as well as in Russia and Azerbaijan in 2012.

A slight improvement for North America is also expected, while in Europe, Holcim said demand should remain stable, "provided that the situation is not undermined by further systemic shocks.

It said it would pay close attention to cost management, passing on inflation-induced cost increases, while its approach to new investments would be cautious.

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