Switzerland: LafargeHolcim’s net sales rose by 5.3% year-on-year to Euro5.21bn in the first quarter of 2017 due to higher prices and rising aggregate volumes. Its results were presented on a like-for-like basis adjusted for the group’s divestments in 2016. Operating earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 8.8% to Euro652m. However, cement sales volumes remained flat at 48.1Mt for the period and even this was bolstered by a strong performance in March 2017.
“Continued pricing strength, improving volume momentum and synergies underpinned our results across the portfolio. Our Middle East Africa region performed particularly well with a recovering Nigeria making a notable contribution to earnings growth. India showed encouraging signs in the quarter with the impact of demonetisation now behind us while our US business was robust despite tough prior year comparisons on the back of mild weather in the first three months of 2016,” commented the group’s outgoing chief executive officer Eric Olsen.
By region the group reported falling cement sales volumes on a like-for-like basis in Latin America, Middle East Africa and North America. In Asia Pacific cement sales volumes were stagnant but it reported ‘challenging’ market conditions in Indonesia and Malaysia, and a slowing market in Philippines. However, it said that the impact of demonetisation in India had abated in the period and was now ‘fully’ behind the business.