Holcim's turnover for the first nine months was down by 6.7% to CHF15,461m, reflecting of the strength of the Swiss franc. In euro terms there was a 5.4% increase to €12,469m and in US dollar terms the advance was higher still at 12.4%. The Asia Pacific region's amounted to 37.2% of group turnover, up from 35.3% a year earlier, while Europe accounted for 29.4%. Latin America was in third place with 15.5%, followed by North America with 13.5% and Africa & Middle East with 4.4%. The operating EBITDA fell by 16.9% to CHF2951m (€2396m) in Swiss franc terms, and declined by 6.2% by when measured in euros but was stable in US dollars terms. The trading profit fell by 19.5% to CHF1752m (€1414m) and the net attributable profit by 18.5% to CHF713m (€575m).

Net debt at the end of September was 4.7% lower at CHF12,127m (€9940m), giving a gearing level of 62.4% compared with 58.3% a year earlier. Capital investment in the period was 6.8% lower at CHF1010m (€815m), with maintenance expenditure jumping by 90.3% to CHF427m (€344m), but expansion investments absorbing 32.2% less at CHF583m (€470m). Spending on acquisitions fell by 79.5% to CHF54m (€67m). The group cement capacity is 215.2Mt, which is 1.8%, higher than a year ago. Cement shipments rose by 5.2% to 108.1Mt, which represents an underlying improvement of 5.2%. Sales of other binders advanced by 22.9% to 3.8Mt. Shipments of aggregates increased by 9.8% to 130.4Mt. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 5% to 36.1Mm³ while the asphalt volume was 2.2% lower at 7.6Mt.

The Asia Pacific turnover was off by 1.5% to CHF5929m (€4782m), but in local currency terms there as a 12.4% increase and the EBITDA fell by 12.2% to CHF1264m (€1019m) but there was a 1.1% increase on a comparable basis. Cement deliveries were ahead by 5.7% to 56.2Mt and deliveries of aggregates and ready-mixed concrete rose by 13.5% to 22.3Mt and by 4.5% to 9.8Mm³ respectively. Domestic cement deliveries showed the strongest increase in Indonesia with a 33.2% rise though the price was marginally weaker. Good volume increases were also seen in Malaysia (+14.2%), Sri Lanka (12.7%) and India (+9.1%). The Philippines is currently the weakest market with volumes down by 9.5% and prices by 5.1%. Volumes have been a bit lower in Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam, but prices are up in virtually all markets, and notably in Vietnam (+20%) and Thailand (+13.9%).

The European turnover declined by a further 8.7% to CHF4691m, though in euros, there was a 3.1% increase to €3783m. The EBITDA fell by 17.3% to CHF7075m (€570m), not helped by the contribution from the sale of emission rights falling from CHF75m to just CHF11m. Cement deliveries recovered by 2.3% to 20.6Mt and shipments of aggregates improved by 6.9% to 63.6Mt, but ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 1.4% lower at 12.2Mm³ and the asphalt volume fell by 6.5% to 4.2Mt. Russia was the strongest performer, with volumes rising by 22.8% and prices by 31.0%. More modest volume increases were seen Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, Romania and Bulgaria. The Swiss subsidiary had to import from its German sister to supply demand. On the other hand, volumes dropped in Hungary, Spain and Italy. Holcim Slovakia increased its stake in cement producer VSH from 49% to 100%. The new Shurovo works in Russia should produce some 0.5Mt this year and reach the full capacity of 1.7Mta in 2014.

In Latin America, turnover declined by 4.6% to CHF2467m (€1990m) reflecting of the strength of the Swiss currency and the underlying increase was 10.7%. The EBITDA was down by 13.1% to CHF662m (€534m) but the underlying increase was 1.6%. Cement shipments increased by 6.7% to 18Mt, while the aggregates volume jumped by 21.4% to 10.9Mt and ready-mixed concrete volumes improved by 7.1% to 8.2Mm³. Holcim Apasco in Mexico increased cement deliveries by 2.5% at stable prices while aggregates volumes rose by 29.9% and prices advanced by 4.7%. Holcim Brazil is virtually at capacity and was only able to boost output by 3.7% while prices moved up by 6.3%. Increased grinding capacity at its Nobsa works enabled Holcim Colombia to sell 22.9% more cement. Substantial volume increases were also achieved by Holcim Nicaragua and Holcim El Salvador, with increases of 18.7% and 14.9%. Volumes rose by 7Mt in Ecuador and 6.1% at Minetti in Argentina. Only Costa Rica reported lower volumes and lower prices.

North American turnover fell by a mainly currency-related, 12.1% to CHF2151m (€1735m), while the EBITDA dropped by 28.% to CHF264m (€213m), including the temporary closure costs for the Catskill works in New York. Cement shipments were 1.2% higher at 8.5Mt and asphalt volume improved by 3.1% to 3.5Mt. Aggregates and ready-mixed concrete volumes were boosted by acquisitions and increased by 11% to 31.9Mt and by 21% to 5.1Mm³ respectively. While the US volume performance was mixed, Canadian volumes were lower.

Turnover from Africa and the Middle East fell by 16.9% to CHF706m (€565m) and the EBITDA by 17% to CHF237m (€191m). Cement deliveries declined by 4.7% to 6.5Mt. Cement volumes were higher in the Indian Ocean markets and marginally so in the Lebanon, but increased competition in Morocco led to reduced cement and aggregates deliveries there, though ready-mixed concrete volumes were ahead.
Holcim's Thai joint venture Siam City Cement, in which the net effective stake held by Holcim is 36.8%, has plans to invest up to US$150m to build a 1Mta cement works in Cambodia. A feasibility study for the project is currently under way and a final decision is expected to be taken about May. Siam City Cement is also planning a smaller investment in a new works in Myanmar, with construction work planned to start during 2012.

Holcim Brasil is investing in a new 4500tpd clinker line at its Barroso works, more than doubling the existing capacity there. Fives FCB will be supplying most of the equipment and production is aimed to start in May 2014.

In India, Ambuja Cements increased cement production in the first 11 months by 3.9% to 19.06Mt and dispatches by 4% to 19.03Mt. For the month of November, cement deliveries jumped by 29.3% to 1.83Mt because of unusually low dispatches during the month of November of last year. ACC Limited, the other major Indian Holcim subsidiary, raised production in the 11 months by 12% to 21.63Mt and cement shipments by 12.2% to 21.59Mt. The November numbers were 4% higher at 1.83Mt and dispatches were 5.2% higher, and also at 1.83Mt.