Swiss cement producer Holcim Ltd Thursday reported a 37 per cent drop in first-half profit as it paid a US tax charge and said the uncertain global economic environment makes it difficult to forecast the business outlook.
Primarily as a result of acquisitions, consolidated net sales increased 8.1 per cent to CHF10.9bn, and operating EBITDA rose 9.3 per cent to CHF2.3bn.
Cement sales grew by 4.1 per cent to 67.8Mt, and sales of aggregates increased by a more substantial 17.1 per cent to 73.2Mt, while sales of ready-mix concrete grew by 13.5 per cent to 21.9Mm3. In comparison with the first quarter of 2010, sales increased in all segments.
Net income declined 22.4 per cent to CHF611m, and the share attributable to shareholders of Holcim Ltd decreased by 37.2 per cent to CHF331m.
The lower earnings reflect the non-recurring cash-neutral tax charge of CHF186m recorded in the first quarter of 2010 in connection with the restructuring of the Group’s interests in North America.
The economic trend in Group regions Europe and North America remains considerably uncertain despite some positive market signals. Holcim expects demand in most countries of Latin America to be stable.
Demand in the Group regions Africa Middle East and in particular Asia Pacific will grow further.