Holcim has released its first quarter of 2014 operating results, citing increased operating margins and like-for-like higher volumes and net sales in all segments.
Bernard Fontana, CEO, commented on the results. “Holcim reported a significant increase in operating profit during the first quarter of 2014, mainly driven by higher like-for-like cement volumes in all group regions and the continued strong momentum of the Holcim Leadership Journey coupled with strict cost management across the group,” he said. “Margins continued to increase and cash flow from operating activities was also better than in the first quarter last year.”
Consolidated cement sales increased by 2.9 percent to 33.0 million metric tons (Mt) in the first quarter. Aggregate volumes increased by 2.2 percent to 29.2 Mt, mainly due to higher results in Europe. In ready-mix concrete volumes contracted by 2.0 percent to 8.2 million cu. m as increases in a number of European countries could not make up for the lower volumes resulting from the segment’s restructuring in 2013.
Holcim made further progress with its operational performance though results continued to be negatively affected by foreign exchange effects. On a like-for-like basis operating EBITDA and operating profit were higher in all group regions except Latin America. Europe recorded significant increases in operational performance as volumes rose, and in North America, where the market situation continued to strengthen, price increases contributed to higher operating EBITDA and operating profit.
For 2014 Holcim expects the global economies to show another year of uneven performance. North American markets are expected to continue to benefit from a further recovery especially in the United States. Latin America on the other hand could continue to face uncertainties in Mexico but should overall show slight growth in 2014.
The company expects cement volumes to increase in all group regions in 2014. Aggregates volumes are expected to remain flat overall as increases in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Africa Middle East are offset by negative volumes in Latin America. Ready-mix concrete volumes are also expected to increase in most regions with the exception of Europe and Latin America.