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Feb. 26, 2021, 1:56 a.m. EST

LafargeHolcim earnings rise amid global recovery

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By Yi Wei Wong

LafargeHolcim Ltd. reported slightly stronger earnings in the fourth quarter as global markets began to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, even as its net sales fell.

The Swiss cement maker's recurring earnings before interest and taxes was 1.04 billion Swiss francs ($1.15 billion), it said Friday. That was up slightly from CHF1.02 billion in the same quarter in 2019 but well below CHF1.50 billion expected by analysts in a FactSet poll.

Net sales in the quarter fell to CHF5.99 billion, compared with CHF6.52 billion a year earlier.

On a like-for-like basis, recurring EBIT rose 14.1% on year, "propelled by a 'V-shaped' recovery across all regions," LafargeHolcim said.

For the full year, net income was down 24.5% to CHF1.70 billion. Recurring EBIT fell 10% to CHF3.68 billion while net sales, hit by pandemic-related disruptions, fell 13% to CHF23.14 billion.

Going forward, the company said it's headed into 2021 with good demand momentum and expects demand to rise further in the second half on a broad range of pandemic-related stimulus programs globally.

LafargeHolcim forecast recurring EBIT to grow at least 7% in 2021, with capital expenditure at less than CHF1.4 billion.

Write to Yi Wei Wong at yiwei.wong@wsj.com

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