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HeidelbergCement Profit Beats Estimates as U.S. Offsets Europe

HeidelbergCement AG, the world’s third-largest maker of cement, posted second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as sales in North America and the recovering U.K. market offset declines elsewhere in Europe.

Operating income before depreciation rose 5.5 percent to 734 million euros ($973 million), the Heidelberg, Germany-based company said today in a statement. That beat the 725 million-euro average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales increased 0.5 percent to 3.8 billion euros.

The company, which dates back to 1873, is pursuing 1.01 billion euros in cost savings by the end of 2013 as demand for building materials drops in parts of Europe amid recessions in the region. HeidelbergCement reiterated it expects to increase revenue and operating income this year, while “significantly” increasing pretax profit.

“The measures we introduced to improve margins are showing results,” Chief Executive Officer Bernd Scheifele said in the statement. “We were able to implement price increases in our principal markets, and our efficiency improvement programmes are progressing according to plan.”

Lafarge SA, the world’s biggest cement maker, said last week it will sell more assets to cut debt after a deterioration in European demand and poor weather for construction cut second-quarter profit. The Paris-based company said it expects cement demand growth in its markets this year to be in the range of zero to 3 percent, down from a previous range of 1 percent to 4 percent.

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