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US agg business a first-quarter 2020 bright spot for LafargeHolcim

By |  April 30, 2020
Headshot: Jan Jenisch

Jenisch

LafargeHolcim experienced some gains in its North American aggregate business in the first quarter of 2020, but the company’s overall sales around the world  – including cement, aggregate and ready-mixed concrete – were down about 11 percent, the company reports.

According to LafargeHolcim, it had a strong start to the year globally and was ahead of last year’s first-quarter pace until around mid-March, when the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) stretched beyond China and into all of the company’s business regions.

North America, however, was one of the company’s stronger-performing markets. Aggregate volumes improved 12 percent in the quarter, with projects along the Mississippi River driving demand. Quarterly aggregate production was up in North America to 15.9 million metric tons, as the company says its U.S. and Canadian operations experienced minor quarterly impacts from the virus.

LafargeHolcim expects to feel the biggest impact from the coronavirus in the second quarter. As a result, the company has taken a number of steps to protect its global business, including a reduction in capital expenditures by at least $400 million compared to 2019 and a reduction in 2020 fixed costs by about $300 million.

“We are confronting an unprecedented health crisis with COVID-19 that is changing how we live and how we work in many ways,” says Jan Jenisch, CEO at LafargeHolcim. “Keeping our employees healthy and safe is our No. 1 priority and core value.

“Our Q1 results show how resilient we are as a business,” Jenisch adds. “With our significantly strengthened balance sheet, we are in a very strong position to weather this storm. We are currently successfully executing our action plan ‘Health, Cost & Cash’ in all countries, setting the company up for the recovery of our markets. I am confident that LafargeHolcim will emerge from this pandemic as an important contributor to economic recovery as building activity gets back to normal.”


For additional P&Q coverage related to the coronavirus, visit our dedicated webpage.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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