Arab Today, arab today holcim cement reports profits plunge skewed by 2013 deal
Last Updated : GMT 23:07:13
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Holcim cement reports profits plunge, skewed by 2013 deal

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Holcim cement reports profits plunge, skewed by 2013 deal

Zurich - AFP

Swiss cement group Holcim, which is poised to merge with Frenchrival Lafarge to great a global concrete behemoth, on Monday said that its profitsplunged in the first quarter.Holcim noted that the figures were skewed by a one-off boost in the same period of2013 arising from the sale of business interests in Australia, meaning the January toMarch performance this year was not comparable.As a result, Holcim's net profits fell by  57.5 percent 80 million Swiss francs (65million euros, $91 million).Despite the group's explanations, analysts polled by the Swiss-based financial newsagency AWP said that the first-quarter performance was a disappointment, giventhat they had forseen 82 million francs in profit.Holcim's operating profit was meanwhile up by 9.3 percent, reaching 295 millionfrancs -- with 237 million francs of that coming thanks to the group's ongoing cost-cutting drive.Holcim said that it was on track to meet its target of an increase in operating profitof 1.5 billion francs by the end of 2014.The group also underlined that first-quarter sales had been robust, notably inEurope where good winter weather conditions have been a boon for theconstruction sector.Excluding exchange rate fluctuations, global net sales rose by 7.8 percent to 4.3billion francs. Taking into account currency volatility, they fell by 5.4 percent.Holcim and Lafarge announced their merger plans on April 4, and the move wasapproved by their respective boards three days later.The move will create the world's biggest concrete group worth 40 billion euros, withan eye to booming construction in emerging markets, the two groups said.

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