Holcim said Wednesday that its third quarter net profit rose 31 per cent, propelled by strong demand and cost-cutting measures, and repeated its upbeat full-year outlook. Net profit rose to CHF321 million from CHF245m, besting analysts expectations of CHF297m. Operating profit increased 7.5 per cent to CHF716m, rising at a faster pace than sales which edged up to CHF3.70bn from CHF3.59bn.
The company said it expects to clearly exceed its full-year operating profit growth target of 8 per cent, net of acquisitions. In 2003, Holcim had net profit of CHF686m, operating profit of CHF1.93bn and sales of CHF12.60bn. In the third quarter, higher energy costs and negative currency effects were more than offset by high demand in most regions, Holcim said.
Deliveries rose in all of its three segments - cement, ready-mixed concrete and aggregates, with Europe recording the strongest cement growth rates as building activity strengthened on the continent, with the exception of Germany.
Robust cement demand in North America continued, boosted by a rise in private residential construction, the expansion and modernisation of transport infrastructure and growth in commercial building, the group said. A 5.7 percent rise in nine-month sales at the world’s top cement maker - France’s Lafarge - has also underlined the strength of the market.