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LafargeHolcim expects sales growth of 3 to 5 percent in 2019

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LafargeHolcim expects sales growth of 3 to 5 percent in 2019
FILE PHOTO: The logo of LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement maker, is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann   -   Copyright  Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)
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ZURICH (Reuters) – LafargeHolcim reported slightly better-than-expected full year profit, the world’s largest cement-maker said on Thursday, confirming its outlook for sales growth during 2019.

The Swiss company reported full year recurring core EBITDA profit of 6.02 billion Swiss francs(4.55 billion pounds), up from 5.99 billion francs a year earlier, beating an average of analyst forecasts for 5.97 billion francs in an Infront Data poll.

Sales rose 1.6 percent to 27.47 billion francs, short of forecasts for 27.69 billion francs. Net profit for shareholders was 1.5 billion francs, turning around a 1.68 billion franc loss from the year before.

The company confirmed the outlook it gave in November when it said it expected sales growth within the 3 to 5 percent range, on a like-for-like basis. During 2018 its sales on this measure, which strips out currency and divestments, increased by 5.1 percent.

It also expects to lift its recurring earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by at least 5 percent, up from the 3.6 percent range achieved in 2018.

Chief Executive Jan Jenisch has been cutting costs and simplifying LafargeHolcim since he took over in 2017. He has already sold its Indonesian unit for an enterprise value of $1.75 billion, using the money to pay down debt.

He said the company’s performance had improved during the second half of 2018, adding he was expecting an acceleration of sales growth and earnings in 2019.

(Reporting by John Revill; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)

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