LafargeHolcim lowers full-year earnings target

By John Revill

ZURICH, Oct 27 (Reuters) – LafargeHolcim on Friday ditched its target of double-digit growth in adjusted core operating profit this year, citing a slowdown during the rest of 2017.

The new outlook follows a review of the business by new Chief Executive Jan Jenisch.

The world’s largest cement company said it now expects a 5 to 7 percent increase in adjusted operating EBITDA compared with 2016, and said it has reset some of its assumptions regarding pricing and volumes for 2018.

The company now expected an improvement in operating adjusted EBITDA of least 5 percent in 2018.

Jenisch, the former CEO of Swiss construction chemicals maker Sika, took the helm at LafargeHolcim in September when his predecessor Eric Olsen left following a scandal around payments to armed groups in Syria.

“Today we have reset expectations for the group’s outlook to a level that reflects the current business dynamics,” Jenisch said in a statement.

The anticipated slowdown comes despite the company’s broadly meeting expectations during the third quarter.

Third-quarter sales rose 4.1 percent on a like-for-like basis to 6.94 billion Swiss francs ($6.95 billion), matching analyst estimates in a Reuters poll. Operating EBITDA of 1.75 billion francs was slightly below expectations of 1.79 billion francs.

LafargeHolcim said that it is in talks with the board of directors of Pretoria Portland Cement regarding a possible transaction in Africa. ($1 = 0.9988 Swiss francs) (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)

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