Cement giant LafargeHolcim predicts “strong momentum” in 2021 after Q4 growth spurt

After posting a 1.5% increase in like-for-like sales in the three months to 31 December, Switzerland-headquartered LafargeHolcim, the world’s biggest cement maker, said it expects higher demand in 2021 thanks to big Covid stimulus drives such as US President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion "Build Back Better" programme promised during his election campaign.

Releasing its 2020 results Friday, the company said net sales in the year were down 13.4% on 2019, but that a surge in fourth quarter sales signalled a better year ahead as projects delayed in the pandemic got started.

In the run-up to the US election in November, Biden campaigned on a pledge to rebuild America’s "crumbling infrastructure", including roads, bridges, water systems and electricity grids, and to retrofit buildings and build affordable housing.

"We are going into 2021 with strong momentum," said chief executive Jan Jenisch. "We expect further demand in H2 2021 from a broad range of stimulus programs."

He also cited India’s similarly sized ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ and plans for higher housing and infrastructure spending in the UK, predicting "positive trends in all regions".

"The numbers will be significantly higher," Jenisch told reporters. "It will be almost unreal for quarter two."

During his campaign, Biden pledged a "second great railroad revolution", featuring electrification and new light rail systems, upgrading four million buildings, weatherising two million homes, and building 1.5 million new housing units.

Image: LafargeHolcim’s Untervaz Cement Plant in Switzerland (Courtesy of LafargeHolcim)

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