Holcim Ltd once again reports higher consolidated sales. As expected, due to the difficult market environment in the second half of the year and restructuring measures at several Group companies, operating profit and net profit failed to match the record levels achieved in 2000. The Board of Directors proposes that the General Meeting distribute an unchanged dividend and approve the increase of the conditional capital.
Holcim Ltd posted an EBITDA of CHF 3.574 billion (2000: 3.595) on consolidated net sales of CHF 13.644 billion (2000: 13.531). Operating profit amounted to CHF 1.945 billion (2000: 2.001) and consolidated net profit after minority interests reached CHF 812 million (2000: 886). Earnings per dividend-bearing bearer share came to CHF 21.20 (2000: 24.12). Reflecting one-off effects in the previous year, cash flow from operating activities decreased to CHF 2.402 billion (2000: 2.557). The operating result benefited from the higher contributions to operating profit generated by Group regions Asia Pacific and Africa Middle East. The contributions from Group regions Europe and Latin America held up well while North America fell back.
Important influencing factors
As expected, due to a combination of the perceptible fall-off in demand for construction materials, a deterioration in currency exchange rates in individual key markets and the delay in commissioning the new Portland plant in the US, results failed to match the previous year's high level. The operating result was also affected by one-time restructuring charges of CHF 131 million directly linked to the recessionary environment in specific markets, as well as to further efficiency enhancements. Some of the measures will already have a positive impact on earnings in 2002.
Net investments in property, plant and equipment rose to CHF 1.730 billion (2000: 1.640) and reflect capacity expansion in North and Latin America and the construction of a fourth kiln line in Egypt. At CHF 1.949 billion, net investments in financial assets were at virtually the same level as the previous year (2000: 1.929) and include in particular the acquisition of a majority of the share capital of Semen Cibinong in Indonesia and support for a group of Spanish investors in acquiring an important strategic share package in the Portuguese company Cimpor. Acquisitions were also effected in Canada and Central America, and moves were made to strengthen holdings in several Group companies, particularly in Latin America.
Deliveries of cement and clinker rose to 84.3 million tonnes (2000: 80.6). Sales of aggregates climbed to 89.5 million tonnes (2000: 86.6) and deliveries of ready-mix concrete reached 25.5 million m3 (2000: 24.9).
Proposed dividend, increase of conditional capital and elections to the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors will propose that the General Meeting to be held in Zurich on May 24, 2002 approve payment of an unchanged gross dividend of CHF 5.- per bearer share and CHF 1.- per registered share. In addition, the conditional capital currently comprising 1 million bearer shares is to be increased to 2 million bearer shares.
It is proposed that the General Meeting elect CEO Markus Akermann and Peter Küpfer to succeed Board members Dr. Anton E. Schrafl (Deputy Chairman) and Professor Angelo Pozzi, who are retiring on reasons of age. Peter Küpfer is a certified auditor and an independent corporate consultant. He is also a member of the Boards of Directors of Swisscom, Unaxis and Bank Julius Bär.
Outlook for 2002
In 2002, the world economy and the construction industry will encounter more difficult market conditions in certain countries. The Board of Directors and the Executive Committee nonetheless feel confident that Holcim will maintain or even surpass the financial level it has achieved. This confidence is based on the completion of restructuring measures at several Group companies. An economic recovery in the second half of the year would undoubtedly have a positive impact on the Group's earnings.
|Cement production capacity m t||121.2||113.2||7.1|
|Sales of cement and clinker m t||84.3||80.6||4.6|
|Sales of aggregates m t||89.5||86.6||3.3|
|Sales of ready-mix concrete m m 3||25.5||24.9||2.4|
|Net sales m CHF||13,644||13,531||0.8|
|Operating profit m CHF||1,945||2,001||-2.8|
|EBITDA m CHF||3,574||3,595||-0.6|
|Cash flow from operating activities m CHF||2,402||2,557||-6.1|
|Group net income before minority interests m CHF||1,031||1,035||-0.4|
|Group net income after minority interests m CHF||812||886||-8.4|
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With majority and minority interests in over 70 countries on all continents, Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, as well as aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services. The Group employs over 47,000 people.