Holcim confident in its ability to manage rising energy prices

The new logo of Swiss cement maker Holcim is seen in a concrete block during the Holcim Capital Markets Day event in Basel, Switzerland November 18, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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  • The company says it does not depend on Russian gas
  • Good order book for 2022
  • Stocks reported a 3.6% rise in premarket activity

ZURICH, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Holcim (HOLN.S) is confident it can weather the energy price spikes caused by the Ukraine crisis, CEO Jan Jenisch said on Friday, after the world’s biggest cement maker announced its fourth quarter results slightly ahead of forecasts.

The Swiss company expects a “very limited” direct impact from the conflict, which has driven up fuel costs, maintaining its optimistic record for the construction sector in 2022.

“We have no business in Ukraine and only a small local business in Russia which accounts for less than 1% of group sales,” Jenisch told reporters.

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“We don’t depend on Russian gas, our European factories don’t use it,” he said. “The direct influence is very limited at the moment.”

Energy to run its cement and clinker plants accounted for about 13% of Holcim’s operating costs in 2021, Holcim said, up from a year earlier. But the company has offset the increases with its own price hikes, Jenisch said.

He expects post-COVID infrastructure spending plans to materialize this year and support the construction sector, while potentially higher interest rates were not a concern as a drag on the economy. construction activity.

In 2022, Holcim expects growth to continue across all regions, particularly as countries ease or exit pandemic-related restrictions, with sales expected to increase by more than 6%.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, sales rose 17% to 6.99 billion Swiss francs ($7.57 billion), Holcim reported, better than the 6.73 billion francs analysts expected. . Current operating profit of 1.09 billion francs is also slightly higher than forecast.

For 2021, it proposed a dividend of 2.20 francs, compared to 2.00 francs for 2020 after its full-year net profit increased by 35.4%.

Shares of the company, whose performance is seen as an indicator for the entire construction industry, rose 3.6% in premarket activity.

($1 = 0.9235 Swiss francs)

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Reporting by John Revill; edited by Michael Shields and Jason Neely

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