Holcim sees challenge with subdued building activity
Swiss group Holcim, the world's second-biggest cement supplier, reported on Thursday a 19-percent drop in its third-quarter net profit and warned of a challenging outlook for the rest of the year.
The third-quarter profit attributable to shareholders of 544 million Swiss francs (563 million dollars, 406 million euros) brought its nine-month figure down to 875 million francs, a decline of 27.1 percent compared to the same period last year.
The nine-month net profit was above the average of 830 million forecast by analysts polled by Swiss business news agency AWP.
Net sales over the period were up by five percent at 16.6 billion francs.
However, Holcim said the global building materials markets "suffered a setback" with weaker demand in the third quarter.
Demand was expected to recover rapidly in India following the monsoon, but robust growth in Latin America was likely to be dampened by exceptions in Mexico and central America, as well as "subdued" prospects for construction in Europe and North America.
"It will be challenging for the Group to reach previous year's operating EBITDA (earnings before interest and tax)," of 5.2 billion francs, Holcim said in a statement.
© 2010 AFP