Thu, 20 Mar 2003

Holcim suffers 37.7% decline in profit

ZURICH: The Swiss cement giant, Holcim, announced on Wednesday a 37.7 percent drop in net profit for 2002 to 506 million Swiss francs (349 million euros).

Turnover fell by 4.6 percent to 13 billion Swiss francs, the group said in a statement.

Holcim, one of the world's largest cement groups, blamed its results on a provision of 120 million Swiss francs for pending legal proceedings by the anti-cartel authority in Germany, write- offs of CHF 63 million in Argentina as well as on its investment in the airline 'Swiss'.

Holcim employed 51,115 people worldwide at the end of 2002, and increase of 7.9 percent over the previous year.

The cement group, which is heavily dependent on the state of the construction industry, indicated it was ready to weather economic conditions in 2003.

"Thanks to the restructuring measures implemented, Holcim is well equipped to achieve robust results even if the global economy takes a further turn for the worse," it said. -- AFP