November 7, 2019 / 6:55 AM / 5 days ago

HeidelbergCement shares fall as group warns of fourth-quarter weakness

FILE PHOTO: The new headquarters of HeidelbergCement are seen under construction in Heidelberg, Germany, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - HeidelbergCement (HEIG.DE), the world's No.2 cement maker after LafargeHolcim (LHN.S), warned on Thursday of a weak end to the year, sending its shares to the bottom of Germany's benchmark DAX index .GDAXI.

“We’re observing a weakening of the global economy in our business,” said Chief Executive Bernd Scheifele, who will step down in February after 15 years at the helm of the company, adding there had not been a recovery in October.

“Overall, we also expect the fourth quarter to be rather muted in terms of sales volumes,” Scheifele added, pointing to weak activity in Germany, France and Britain, which suffers from ongoing uncertainty related to Brexit.

The comments drove shares down as much as 4.9%. At 1348 GMT, they were trading 4.6% lower, with traders pointing to third-quarter sales of 5.06 billion euros ($5.6 billion), which were flat on a like-for-like basis.

Scheifele also sounded a more cautious note than LafargeHolcim CEO Jan Jenisch, who said last month that The outlook for 2020 remained good despite problems seen by manufacturers.

HeidelbergCement’s third-quarter profit from current operations was still up 3% at 835 million euros, helped by cost cuts, including the slashing of up to 500 administrative jobs around the world.

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa, Patricia Weiss, Oliver Hirt, Anika Ross and Hakan Ersen; writing by Christoph Steitz; editing by Thomas Seythal

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