UPDATE 1-Holcim hopes emerging markets will support cement sales

Wed Nov 7, 2012 1:29am EST

* Q3 net profit after minorities 394 mln Sfr vs 405 f'cast

* Q3 operating EBITDA 1.214 bln Sfr vs 1.218 in poll

* Expects demand to rise in emerging markets, Europe weaker

ZURICH, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Holcim, the world's second-largest cement maker by sales, is banking on rising demand for cement in emerging markets and North America to shield it from lower sales in Europe for the rest of 2012.

Like its rivals Lafarge and HeidelbergCement , Holcim has grappled with higher energy costs and sluggish European construction markets and is raising prices for its customers to meet its targets.

Third quarter net profit after minorities rose 10.5 percent to 394 million Swiss francs ($417.51 million), falling slightly short of the average analyst forecast in a Reuters poll of 405 francs.

Sales rose 9.8 percent to 5.841 billion francs, beating the average forecast, buoyed by a solid performance in a number of emerging markets including India, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Mexico.

The cement maker set out a cost-cutting drive in May to boost profit by at least 1.5 billion Swiss francs by the end of 2014.

Holcim said it was progressing well with the programme and confirmed it plans to achieve at least 150 million of that im provement in 2012. A s part of the measures, the company said it had implemented a leaner management structure in Europe to cope with the difficult economic environment.

The company confirmed its outlook to achieve organic growth in 2012 on the level of operating earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

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