Holcim May Plan More Spain Cuts From 2013, Worker Delegate Says

Holcim Ltd. (HOLN) may plan a deeper restructuring of its business in Spain next year, according to a representative for the cement maker’s workers in the country.

“I think that we´ll begin a new restructuring because we keep losing money,” Daniel Garrido, a factory trade union delegate, said in e-mailed responses to questions. The Swiss firm’s plants are running at 50 percent capacity in Spain, depending on the price of electricity, he said.

Holcim is in the midst of executing a plan to cut its Spanish staff from 1,200 at the beginning of 2012 to 710 by the end of the year, company spokesman Peter Gysel said. Holcim said May 21 that it would halt production at two of five cement plants, streamline its corporate structure and center administration in Madrid, in response to a 63 percent decline in cement sales between 2007 and 2011.

Holcim has “no plans for further re-structuring for the time being, and if the current macro-economic situation remains stable,” Gysel said in an e-mailed response to questions. Gysel declined to comment on Holcim’s Spanish capacity utilization.

Garrido, one of three worker representatives in Spain, sees reduced hourly salaries and further plant capacity cuts as measures Holcim could introduce from 2013.

Peter Fontana, Holcim’s chief executive officer, has taken out a layer of top management in Europe to mirror cuts on the factory floor, installing a new head of Europe on Sept. 1. Previously, the region was split between three executive committee members.

In recent years the Jona, Switzerland-based company has slashed staff numbers in Spain, where it has been present since 1980. The company employed 1,566 employees there in 2009, 1,333 in 2010 and 1,257 employees as of year-end 2011, according to Holcim annual reports. The company produced 5.2 million metric tons of cement capacity in the country as of the end of 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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