LafargeHolcim Swings to 1Q Net Income of CHF226 Million

By Brian BlackstoneFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

LafargeHolcim Ltd. (LHN.EB) posted a rise in comparable sales last quarter and net income improved, as the Franco-Swiss building materials company benefited from improved pricing and cost reductions.

On Wednesday, the company said net sales came in at CHF5.63 billion ($5.66 billion) last quarter, slightly above analyst forecasts for CHF5.56 billion, according to FactSet. Though down from CHF6.06 billion a year earlier on a like-for-like basis--which excludes restructuring and acquisitions--sales were up 5.3% on the comparable period.

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Net income swung to CHF226 million from a year-earlier loss of CHF107 million.

LafargeHolcim shares were down by 0.3% in early trading Wednesday, after rising by nearly 2% Tuesday.

In a conference call with reporters, outgoing chief executive, Eric Olsen, said last quarter's results were aided by a "notably strong March."

Mr. Olsen abruptly resigned on April 24 following controversy over payments the cement giant made to armed groups in Syria. Mr. Olsen, who will stay on until July, was cleared by an internal investigation of any wrongdoing regarding the payments, or knowledge of them.

Still, the disclosures have been a big distraction for the company, as it pushes ahead with the complex integration of Switzerland's Holcim and France's Lafarge, two of the world's biggest cement makers that merged less than two years ago.

Mr. Olsen has been chief executive since the merger in 2015. Before that, he served in a variety of executive roles at Lafarge and was executive vice president of operations from 2013.

"I'm filled with pride in what we've achieved here," he said Wednesday, referring to the integration of the merged companies.

Write to Brian Blackstone at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 03, 2017 03:43 ET (07:43 GMT)