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LafargeHolcim banking on cement growth in emerging markets

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World Cement,

Bloomberg are reporting that LafargeHolcim is confident that a rally will continue in emerging markets this year even as others see raw materials from oil to iron ore faltering.

Higher cement buying in countries such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam is offsetting slower growth in China, leaving LafargeHolcim Chief Executive Officer Eric Olsen optimistic about continued expansion in markets that represent about 55% of his company’s global footprint.

While cement producers’ customers are similar to those buying steel, aluminium and oil, companies such as LafargeHolcim are protected from roiling seaborne commodities markets. Because cement is made and sold locally, its producers get the benefit of regional growth without the volatility of commodity prices.

Olsen has promised to sell US$3.5 billion in assets this year to streamline the company’s portfolio and comply with regulators, while committing to an additional US$1 billion of internal cost savings.

Olsen said the divestiture will be sealed in three to four months. Building growth is picking up after years of stagnation, boosting optimism about the country’s economic recovery, he said.

LafargeHolcim’s shares have dropped 39% in the last 12 months amid slower growth in China and Brazil, key markets for the combined company.

Edited from source by Joseph Green. Source: Bloomberg

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