Cement giant Holcim 2010 profits slump

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Swiss cement giant Holcim said Wednesday its 2010 net profit plunged 19.6 percent to 1.2 billion francs (939 million euros, $1.3 billion) due to weakness in Europe and North America's construction sector.

However, the world's second biggest cement-maker after French group Lafarge issued a positive outlook for 2011, saying that demand in mature markets will recover and that growth in emerging markets will continue.

The group said sales grew 2.5 percent to 21.7 billion francs in 2010, thanks to strong demand in Asia, where revenues were up 24 percent.

In Europe, however, sales fell 10.7 percent and in North America they dropped 6.9 percent.

"In Europe and North America, improving economic conditions (have) yet to have much impact on the construction sector," it said, noting that government economic stimulus programmes were not implemented consistently in all regions.

For 2011, however, Holcim said "it can be expected that the construction sector in the mature markets will recover and that the growth in the emerging markets will continue.

"Holcim therefore anticipates an increase in sales across all segments."

© 2011 AFP

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