Swiss cement maker Holcim has beat forecasts for the second quarter of 2009 despite a 41 per cent drop in half year net income compared with last year.
Second quarter results released on Thursday show the company, founded in canton Aargau in 1912, posted a net profit of SFr453 million ($421 million), ahead of analysts' expectations of SFr415 million.
Combined with first quarter results, the cement giant churned out SFr787 million in group net income, down from SFr1.3 billion for the same period last year. That left shareholders with SFr527 million in net income, down almost 51 per cent from SFr1 billion last year.
Despite the dip, company executives noted that most markets – hit hard by the drop in demand for building materials – were showing signs of improvement, especially in Asia and India.
"Following a harsh winter, operating results improved significantly in the second quarter," the company said in a statement. "By mid-year, fixed costs have already been reduced by SFr381 million. That means the targeted annual reduction has already been achieved."
Holcim stocks reacted warmly to the news and opened on Thursday at SFr67.55 a share on the Swiss exchange, up about 3.2 per cent against Wednesday's close.
The company, the second largest after France-based Lafarge, announced in January that it was cutting 3,300 jobs from its global workforce of about 83,000 people, most of them in the United States.
In compliance with the JTI standards