The world's second biggest cement producer, Holcim, posted better than expected first-half figures on Thursday but sees a flat operating profit for the year as a whole.
The Swiss group saw its first-half earnings increase 12.8 per cent to SFr397 million ($233 million). Analysts had expected about SFr354 million. Operating profit jumped 6.9 per cent to SFr997 million on a sales increase of 5.4 per cent.
But a statement said operating profit for the year as a whole should be around the same as last year, given the deteriorating economic environment in the United States. The company also faces costs with the opening of new plants and the restructuring or closure of existing facilities.
Most analysts had expected Holcim to repeat its forecast that 2001 operating profit should rise by about five per cent.
Holcim said the Latin American market would once again this year make a substantial contribution to income, while Africa, the Middle East and Asia would improve on last year's results.
Swissinfo with agencies