By SSA/ Bloomberg
Zurich: Holcim Ltd, the world’s second-biggest cement maker, said first-quarter profit more than doubled after it spent more than $1.2 billion on acquisitions in India.
Net income climbed to 356 million francs (293 million US dollar) from 170 million francs a year earlier, Jona, Switzerland-based Holcim said.
Holcim bought Gujarat Ambuja Cement Ltd and Ambuja Cement India Ltd last year and about three-quarters of its cement output now stems from faster-growing emerging markets. Holcim is also building the US’s biggest cement plant in Mississippi as it tries to keep pace with France’s Lafarge SA, the No.1 supplier.
“The global economy is expected to continue to drive demand for Holcim’s products in the coming months,” the company said. “The acquisitions made in 2006 will have a positive impact on the group’s financial result in 2007 and counter the slowdown witnessed in some markets.”
Holcim on 28 February forecast “significant” growth in emerging markets after the Indian purchases. Lafarge, which expanded in China and bought out its North American unit, said it will beat growth targets.