Holcim Ltd said net profit for the first nine months rose to SwFr1.384bn from SwFr875m a year earlier, beating forecasts on robust internal growth, sales gains and cost savings, which more than offset rising energy costs and price pressure.
Analysts had forecast net profit of SwFr 1.127-1.171bn.
The Swiss cement producer said in the third quarter it was able to achieve a further substantial improvement in its performance, building on acquisitions and the sound internal growth achieved in the first half.
Operating profit during the first nine months advanced by 44.2 per cent to 2 SwFr.576bn, from SwFr1.787bn a year earlier, also ahead of the forecast range of SwFR2.358-2.535bn. Sales in the period were up 34 per cent at SwFr13.425bn, from SwFr10.017bn, also beating the forecast range of 12.856-13.185bn.
’Holcim is currently benefiting significantly from good economic conditions in key growth markets. Since this is unlikely to change in the coming months, internal operating EBITDA growth should be well above the long-term average of five per cent,’ it said. This should provide an excellent foundation of the fiscal year 2006, it added.
Consolidated cement sales during the first nine months of the year increased 7.4 pct to 83 mln tonnes in the first nine months of the year, with a major contribution coming from emerging markets, while a ’clear uptrend’ can be perceived in Europe and North America, it said. Order inflow was at a relatively high level in most Western European countries, including the UK, France, Switzerland and above all Spain. By contrast, demand remained low in Germany and Northern Italy.