In the first six months of 2006, Holcim produced further organic growth and improved its financial performance. Contributing factors include the generally favorable market environment, the enhanced scope of consolidation, and greater operational efficiency.
Against the backdrop of favorable global economic development, the construction industry produced a solid performance in most regions. Among the few exceptions were a small number of Asian countries, in which political uncertainties in particular impaired economic growth. By contrast, the demand for building materials in North and Latin America remained very robust, and in Europe the building industry continued to gain strength. The level of demand in North and South Africa remained satisfactory.
Holcim’s sales increased in all segments and Group regions. Consolidated cement sales rose by 24.8 percent to 65.5 million tonnes. Thanks to the consolidation of the recent acquisitions in India, Group region Asia Pacific recorded by far the largest sales growth of all regions, followed by Latin America and North America. Increases in Europe and Group region Africa Middle East were more moderate.
Sales of aggregates and ready-mix concrete also improved sharply, the former up by 23.9 percent to 84.6 million tonnes and the latter by 20.3 percent to 20.7 million cubic meters. Group regions Europe and North America posted impressive increases in these twosegments because the quantities supplied by Aggregate Industries were consolidated only from the second quarter of 2005 on. Salesvolumes of ready-mix concrete were boosted particularly by strong demand in Mexico and in other Latin American markets as well as in India.