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HeidelbergCement’s Asia-Pacific business stabilises in 2017

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World Cement,

HeidelbergCement reported steady sales volumes of cement from its Asia-Pacific business unit in 2017, as strong sales at the end of the year offset a weaker first half. Sales in 4Q17 were up 6.5% at 9.4 million t, well above the annual average.

“Economic growth in the Asia-Pacific group area has stabilised,” the company said in its preliminary results.

Indonesia was a bright spot for the company with demand for building products picking up as infrastructure programmes kicked in. Australia also reported sales of the company’s products increasing on the back of strong construction activities on the east coast.

Elsewhere, there were challenges in the Thai market, where sales declined, as well as India, where demand suffered from the impact of demonetisation and the implementation of a tax reform. These markets were showing signs of recovery by the end of the year, however.

Overall, cement volumes in the region were up 0.8% at 34.7 million t. Aggregates sales were up 4.2%, but volumes of ready-mixed concrete and asphalt were both down.

Earnings were down sharply to €652 million – a fall of 13.3% - mainly due to “strong price erosion in Indonesia”, the company said. Results were also negatively impacted by increasing energy costs.

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