HeidelbergCement said price hikes failed to offset rising energy costs in the second quarter, pushing operating income down by 6 per cent.“Despite a positive development of turnover and results, we are not satisfied with the second quarter,” Chief Executive Bernd Scheifele said.“We were not able to offset the increase in energy costs in the cement business line with the price increases implemented so far,” he added. In Frankfurt local trading, the shares were 4.2 per cent lower in thin trade.The world’s No.3 construction materials group said that second-quarter operating income before depreciation (OIBD) fell 6.1 per cent to 651 million euros ($934.9 million), slightly below the 677 million euro average estimate in a Reuters poll. Net income from continuing operations for the quarter came in at 219 million euros, above the poll average of 213 million.The group affirmed its outlook and said that the focus in the coming quarters would be on offsetting rising costs for energy and raw materials by raising the prices it charges its customers and cutting costs.“As feared, a weak report for HeidelbergCement, but the shares have been under pressure for months already,” traders at Frankfurt’s Alpha brokerage wrote in a note.Another trader added that the figures were “very disappointing”. Growth in the Asia-Pacific and Africa-Mediterranean regions partially compensated for rising raw material costs.“For the whole of 2011, we still anticipate a slow recovery in the mature markets as well as continuing growth in the emerging countries,” Scheifele said, French rival Lafarge the world’s largest cement maker, said second-quarter operating income fell 16 per cent, missing analysts’ forecasts.
From / Gulf Today