ZURICH, April 28 Swiss cement maker Holcim
posted a 9 percent rise in first-quarter operating
profit on Monday, bearing the fruits of a cost-cutting programme
as it prepares to merge with French rival Lafarge.
The Jona-based company reported operating profit of 295
million Swiss francs ($335 million) compared with 270 million a
year earlier boosted by higher cement volumes and cost cuts.
First-quarter sales fell 5.4 percent to 4.09 billion francs
as adverse currency moves offset stronger volumes, particularly
in Europe, where a mild winter buoyed construction work.
Excluding the impact of currencies, sales increased 7.8
($1 = 0.8810 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting by Caroline Copley)