- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

FRANKFURT (AP) - German building materials company Heidelberg Cement AG said Thursday its 2008 net profit fell 11 percent and warned that sales and earnings will this year be hurt by the economic slump which is holding back construction projects.

The Heidelberg-based company _ the world’s fourth largest producer of cement _ said its net profit fell to euro1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) from euro2 billion in 2007. Total group sales, however, rose sharply to euro14.2 billion from euro10.9 billion in 2007.

The company did not immediately break out fourth quarter figures.

Heidelberg didn’t make a specific outlook for the current year except to say that it anticipates a decline in both sales and operating profit.

“The effects of the global financial crisis have intensified over the last few months. Almost all major national economies throughout the world are now in a recession whose duration and extent are difficult to estimate,” the company said in its report, noting that some nations’ economic programs focus on infrastructure, which could benefit Heidelberg’s business.

The company said 2008 sales in Europe increased 26 percent to euro7.2 billion, while North American sales rose 25 percent to euro4 billion. The Asia, Australia and Africa region’s sales increased 50 percent to euro3 billion.

Heidelberg said total cement sales volume for 2008 rose to over 89 million metric tons from 88 million metric tons in 2007, while sales of aggregate _ ingredients for cement and other products _ rose more than 66 percent to 300 million metric tons.

The company said deliveries of mixed concrete amounted to more than 44 million cubic meters compared with 33 million cubic meters in 2007.

Shares of Heidelberg Cement closed up 6.5 percent at euro21.52 ($29.48) in Frankfurt.



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