Switzerland: Holcim has launched a targeted cost-cutting programme aimed at increasing operating profit by at least Euro1.25bn by the end of 2014.
The aims of the 'Holcim Leadership Journey' programme include increasing its fixed cost savings, improving energy-efficiency, increasing the use of alternative fuels and raw materials, cutting logistics costs and reducing net working capital. The company said it expected to achieve a positive impact of at least Euro124m in 2012 and anticipated one-off costs of less than Euro167m to complete the programme. Holcim had an operating profit of Euro1.92bn in 2011, excluding one-off items of Euro312m.
Chief executive Bernard Fontana is known as a cost-cutter having launched a similar 'Leadership Journey' cost savings plan in his former role as head of Luxembourg-based stainless steel maker Aperam. Like other energy-hungry cement makers, Holcim has grappled with higher coal, diesel and oil prices, which have added to production and transportation costs.
Holcim said that reducing logistics costs would add an extra Euro208m to operating profit by 2014, while improving energy-efficiency and using alternative fuels should add Euro250m in savings. Improving customer focus, streamlining the procurement process and increasing fixed cost savings should bring in savings of some Euro791m. The company also said that it might make some selective divestments.