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Holcim sales down 1.8% in first quarter

Cost pressures and strong Swiss Franc dampen first-quarter results despite higher sales volumes

HOLCIM say inflation-induced cost pressure on raw materials and energy, as well as the strong Swiss Franc, dampened first-quarter results, despite higher sales volumes in all segments.

Consolidated net sales for the first three months of 2011 were 1.8% down at CHF4,657 million, while operating EBITDA decreased by 17.1% to CHF753 million, compared with the first quarter of 2010. Meanwhile, net income showed a significant increase, rising by 85.1% to CHF122 million during the quarter, compared with the same period of 2010.

Consolidated cement deliveries during the first three months rose by 7.2% to 3.2 million tonnes, with the largest volume increases in Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America, while sales of aggregates were up by 16.3 % to 34.3 million tonnes due to improved demand in all Group regions, apart from Africa Middle East.

All Group regions contributed to a 9.8% increase in ready-mixed concrete deliveries, to 10.4 million cubic metres, in the first quarter of 2011, while sales of asphalt grew by 3.5% to 1.7 million tonnes.

In the UK, Aggregates Industries increased deliveries of ready-mixed concrete, largely due to brisk demand in the Greater London area, while sales volumes of aggregates and asphalt were nearly maintained during the first three months, thanks to government stimulus measures.

Looking ahead, Holcim say they are confident the Group will be successful in securing its share of growth in emerging markets, and that its lean cost structures will allow it to benefit above average from continuing economic recovery in Europe and North America.

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