Swiss cement conglomerate Holcim Ltd. reported a higher third-quarter profit, citing positive earnings performance in Europe, North and Latin America, as well as its cost discipline initiatives. Meanwhile, net sales fell about 8 percent, due to weak demand in key markets such as India and Mexico.
For the nine-month period, sales volumes declined in all three segments, with the greatest declines in ready-mix concrete. Weaker operating results in India, Mexico, Brazil and Canada in particular led to a reduction in consolidated operating EBITDA and operating profit for the first nine months of the year.
Cement sales dropped 0.5 percent to 35.7 million tonnes, while sales of aggregates were 45.4 million tonnes, up 2.2 percent from a year ago. The company showed a 12.9 percent fall in sales of ready-mix concrete.
Looking ahead, Holcim said it does not expect to reach the previous year's sales volumes of cement, aggregates and ready-mix concrete in 2013. While Europe is expected to witness higher cement sales volumes, Holcim is somewhat less optimistic regarding Latin and North America and Africa Middle East. In Asia Pacific, cement sales are expected to reach levels similar to the previous year.
The firm expects a further improvement in operating EBITDA and operating profit margins. Under similar market conditions, organic growth in operating EBITDA and operating profit should be achieved in 2013, the company added.