Holcim’s annual results for 2013 show that net income increased sharply by 59 percent to CHF 1.6 billion (€1.3 billion); operating profit was up by a third to CHF 2.36 billion and while net sales were down 6.8 percent this represented a slight increase on like-for-like basis.
The net financial debt was down CHF 864 million to CHF 9.46 billion.
In the fourth quarter of 2013 net income amounted to CHF 319 million after a loss of CHF 91 million in the same quarter of the previous year, while operating profit climbed sharply to CHF 559 million compared to CHF -81 million in the prior-year period, after it had been significantly impacted by restructuring costs of CHF 638 million in 2012.
Its outlook for 2014 is for higher demand for cement in all group regions; organic growth in operating profit and the Holcim Leadership Journey contributing to improved operating margins.
“Holcim generated a solid result in the 2013 financial year. Despite difficult market conditions, as a result of which volumes in all three segments were below those recorded last year, the operating EBITDA margin and net income increased due to the consistent implementation of the Holcim Leadership Journey,” said Holcim CEO Bernard Fontana.
In the 2013 financial year, Holcim achieved cement sales of 138.9 million tons, compared to 142.3 tons in the previous year. The 2.4 percent fall was mainly attributable to lower volumes in group region Asia Pacific, while in Europe cement sales were higher mainly due to the sustained high demand in Russia and Azerbaijan.
Aggregates volumes contracted in 2013 by 2.4 percent to 154.5 million tons. The demand for crushed stone, gravel and sand was higher in North America due to positive market development in the U.S. In Asia Pacific volumes were lower mainly on account of lower demand in Australia. Restructuring of aggregates activities resulted in a more pronounced fall in volumes in Latin America.
Deliveries of ready-mix concrete fell by 12.9 percent to 39.5 million m³ as many group companies were restructuring their activities to improve their profitability in this segment. Asphalt sales were impacted by lower demand in Canada and the U.S., while sales in the United Kingdom were higher. Consolidated volumes contracted by 2 percent to 8.9 million tons.
Net sales were down 6.8 percent to CHF 19.72 billion, but increased on a like-for-like basis by 0.2 percent.
It was significantly harder to implement price increases in various markets than in the previous year. The Swiss franc exchange rate rose in 2013 against various currencies, particularly the Indian, Indonesian, and Brazilian currencies, while it weakened in respect of the Euro. Overall, this had an adverse impact of CHF 798 million on the net sales, said Holcim.