FILE PHOTO: The logo of LafargeHolcim, the world’s largest cement maker, is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
ZURICH (Reuters) – LafargeHolcim (LHN.S) reported a drop in sales and profit during its first quarter on Thursday as the coronavirus pandemic closed building sites around the world and said the worst impact is still to come.
The world’s biggest cement maker, which has already ditched its profit target for the year, expects the biggest impact from COVID-19 in the second quarter.
“The full impact of the crisis on the company’s 2020 results cannot be assessed at this point,” it added.
The Swiss company said 2020 had started well, with its performance “well ahead” of last year until mid-March when the impact of the new coronavirus spread beyond China.
During the quarter, its sales fell 11.2% to 5.29 billion Swiss francs ($5.42 billion), from 5.96 billion francs a year earlier. The figure slightly beat analyst forecasts for 5.25 billion francs in a company-gathered consensus.
Recurring operating profit also fell, down 14.1% to 262 million francs, beating forecasts for 215 million francs.
On a comparable basis, which cuts out the impact of its sales of operations in South-East Asia last year, sales were down 3.3% and recurring operating profit down 2.6%.