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Asia Pacific provides challenges for LafargeHolcim

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World Cement,

Asia Pacific proved a difficult region for LafargeHolcim in 3Q17. Earnings fell 5.9% on a like-for-like basis on the previous year, despite improvements in sales volumes across the company’s product lines.

Overall sales volumes were up 13.1% on a like-for-like basis. Cement sales were at 21.4 million t, a like-for-like increase of 8.7%. Sales of aggregates and ready-mixed concrete were also up 15.3% and 8.7%, respectively.

India was a bright spot in the region with LafargeHolcim’s Indian business performing “strongly in the context of a normal monsoon season,” the company said in its 3Q17 results. “Higher volumes and prices more than offset higher fuel costs.”

Elsewhere, market conditions appear to have been more challenging.

In the Philippines prices were hit by lower demand – exacerbated by delays in some large government infrastructure projects – and increased competition, as well as higher costs. LafargeHolcim Group member in the Philippines, Holcim Philippines, reported earnings down by almost two thirds in 3Q17, the company said in a release to the Philippines Stock Exchange. Earnings dropped to PHP973.1 million from PHP2.8 billion the year before.

Preliminary unaudited results from Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd in Bangladesh also indicated a sharp fall in earnings as consolidated earnings per share dropping from BDT0.32 in 3Q16 to BDT0.18 in 3Q17.

Overall like-for-like earnings in the region fell to €270 million.

In response, “management actions are underway across the Asia Pacific region, with initiatives in cost reduction, asset optimisation, logistics, and commercial transformation,” LafargeHolcim said.

In addition to India and the Philippines, LafargeHolcim’s Asia Pacific business includes operations in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia.

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