HeidelbergCement upbeat on 2008 outlook

HeidelbergCement upbeat on 2008 outlook
Published: 08 May 2008

HeidelbergCement , the world’s third-biggest cement maker, expects to boost sales and profit sharply this year as demand from eastern Europe and Asia offsets a weak North American market.
 
The company, which reported pretax profit of EUR15m ($23.23m) for the first quarter, said on Thursday expansion in emerging markets should continue at a high level.
 
"Growth in most eastern European countries, particularly in Russia, remains sound," the company said, adding that the strong euro was weighing on customers in the euro zone.
 
Cement companies worldwide are benefiting from strong demand in emerging markets a result of rapidly growing cities and infrastructure expansion.
 
Other leading cement makers Lafarge and Holcim beat forecasts with their first-quarter results this week and both were positive about the outlook for 2008.
 
HeidelbergCement said the integration of British group Hanson helped first-quarter sales surge to over EUR3bn from EUR1.8bn a year earlier. Nearly EUR1.28bn in divestment inome made net profit leap to EUR1.29bn.
 
"HeidelbergCement is confident of being able to achieve noticeable increases in turnover and results also in this year," the company said.
 
The group said it expects completion of its Hanson integration by mid-2008 and said the first synergies would contribute to improving results.
 
HeidelbergCement had said in January that 2008 sales will increase to EUR15bn without giving more details about its earnings expectations for this year.