Holcim increased cement deliveries by 4.7% to 70.9Mt in the first six months and sales of other mineral components jumped by 32.2% to 2.2Mt. Shipments of aggregates rose by 11% to 81.3Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 5.7% to 23.1Mm³. Asphalt sales, on the other hand, declined by 1.3% to 4.3Mt.

Turnover came off by 7% to CHF10,143m, but in euro terms there was a 4.8% increase to €7987m. The running EBITDA came off by 19% to CHF1897m, but, when expressed in euros the reduction was a more modest 8.8% to €1494m as the value of the Swiss franc rose. The trading profit fell by 23.4% to CHF1084m (€854m), but the net attributable profit benefited from lower minorities and rose by 8% to CHF357m (€281m). Net debt at the end of June was 13.3% lower than a year earlier at CHF12,205m (€10,087m), giving a gearing of 64.4%, compared with 63% a year earlier. Capital investment in the six months was more than doubled from CHF693m to CHF1592m (€1254m), with maintenance capital expenditure more than trebling to CHF410m (€323m). There was no net spending on acquisitions, but rather a cash inflow of CHF230m (€181m) from net disposals.

The Asia Pacific area reinforced its position as the largest source of turnover and profits as the turnover rose by an underlying 9.7%, though it declined in by 3.1% in Swiss franc terms to CHF4065m (€3201m) and the EBITDA came off by 13.4% to CHF928m (€731m). In profit terms, the strongest improvements came in the subsidiaries in Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia. Cement deliveries improved by 4.4% to 38.1Mt, with the strongest volume increases coming in Indonesia (+29.1%), Malaysia (+18.2%) and Sri Lanka (+10.7%), but there was an 11.4% drop in the Philippines. India and Bangladesh also saw good volume increases at 7.2% and 8.9%, respectively. Cement volumes were lower in New Zealand because of the earthquake and in Australia due to flooding in Queensland. In the important Indian market, cement demand was strong in the north, stable in the east and west, but highly competitive in the south.

In Europe, turnover came off by 6.6% to CHF3086m, though it rose by 5.2% when expressed in euros to €2430m. The EBITDA fell by 24.4% to CHF378m (€298m) and receipts from sale of emission certificates slumped from €65m to just €1m. Cement shipments, however, improved by 6.5% to 12.8Mt, the aggregates tonnage rose by 9.9% to 41.3Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 2.5% ahead at 8.0Mm³. Cement deliveries showed the strongest increases in Bulgaria (+28.3%), albeit from a very depressed level, Russia (+26.0%) and Belgium (+17.3%) and were up by just over 10% in Switzerland, Slovakia and Romania, with good volume increases also being experienced in France and Germany. The weakest performers were Hungary and Spain with declines of 20.5% and 13.2%, respectively, with deliveries being modestly lower in the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Croatia and Italy. Cement prices were under pressure in most countries, in spite of higher costs and only in Russia did prices improve by as much as 10%.

Latin American turnover improved by an underlying 8.9% to CHF1644 (€1,296m), though the EBITDA fell by 16.2% to CHF438m (€345m). Cement deliveries were 5.4% ahead at 11.7Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries improved by 6.6% to 5.3Mm³ while the aggregates volume jumped by 19% to 7Mt, helped by a 33.8% volume advance in Mexico. Only in Costa Rica did cement shipments fall, while double-digit increases were seen in Colombia (+17.3%), Nicaragua (+15%) and El Salvador (+10.3%). Good volume increases were also seen in Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina, but in the important Mexican market, cement shipments were just 0.6% ahead. Holcim is to build an additional kiln line at the Barroso works in Brazil, which will raise the cement capacity there by 2.6Mt, when completion takes place in 2014. The cost is estimated at some €570m.

The North American turnover fell by 15.3% to CHF1189m (€936m) and the EBITDA dropped by 34.3% to CHF92m (€72m). Cement deliveries were 0.4% lower at 5Mt as Canadian shipments declined by 7.4% after a long period of strength, but US shipments were 1.1% ahead, with a slight improvement in the north largely offset by a decline in the south. Further benefits were realised from the Ste Genevieve works. US prices declined by 5.7%, but there was a 1.7% price improvement in Canada. North American aggregates volumes advanced by 12.9% to 17.5Mt and there was some improvement in average prices. In spite of continued price pressure, ready-mixed concrete deliveries were increased by 16.8% to 2.9Mm³.

In Africa and the Middle East, turnover declined by 19%, or by 5.5% on an underlying basis, to CHF483m (€380m) and the EBITDA fell by 19.2% to CHF168m (€132m). Cement deliveries declined by 8% to 4.4Mt and sales of aggregates were off by 12.2% to 1.1Mt, but ready-mixed concrete deliveries did rise by 10.3% to 0.6Mm³. Sales of cement and aggregates declined in an increasingly-competitive Moroccan market, where new cement producers are trying to establish themselves. Lebanese domestic cement deliveries improved. The West African cement operations suffered from the troubled situation in the Ivory Coast.

Indian operations
ACC Limited, one of the two quoted Indian subsidiaries of Holcim, in which Holcim holds 50.10% of the equity, increased cement production in August by 20.5% to 1.88m tonnes and despatches rose by 19.8% to 1.88m tonnes. The cummulative increase for the eight months was a 14.5% advance in production to 16.09m tonnes and the corresponding rise in despatches was 14.7% to 16.064m tonnes.  

Ambuja Cements, one of the two quoted Indian subsidiaries of Holcim, reported a 7.6% increase in cement production to 1.52m tonnes and a 2.7% advance in despatches to 1.51m tonnes for the month of August.  The cummulative increase for the eight months was a 2.3% rise in production to 13.98m tonnes and despatches were 2.9% higher at 14.24m tonnes. These numbers include clinker sales as well.