Hanson Plc in a trading statement said the company expects to deliver a strong performance for the first half of 2005, continuing progress made in the second half of last year. Operating profit including earnings from acquisitions is expected to be 20 percent ahead of the first half of 2004. The first half result will be announced on August 3.
Hanson Aggregates North America and Hanson Building Products North America have delivered strong results. Hanson Aggregates UK’ price increases have been held against a background of lower aggregate volumes. Operating profit and margins are expected to be significantly higher than for the first six months. Hanson Building Products UK has experienced weaker demand and first half heritage brick volumes in 2005 are expected to be below the first half of 2004. Hanson Continental Europe is expecting reduced operating profits in the first half of 2005 compared to a very strong first half of 2004.
The first half operating profit for Hanson Australia & Asia Pacific is expected to be similar to the first six months 2004. In Australia, volumes in some markets have started to slow but selling prices remain firm. Operations in Asia Pacific are improving slowly in difficult markets.
Hanson expects further progress in the second half of 2005. Underlying volume patterns for the remainder of 2005 are expected to follow similar trends to those experienced in the first half of this year, with the possible exception of further weakening in Australia.