July 23, 2020 / 10:14 AM / 21 days ago

Sika CEO 'very positive' about construction industry recovery

FILE PHOTO: CEO Paul Schuler of Swiss chemical group Sika addresses a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Sika (SIKA.S) is expecting a sustainable improvement in the global construction market after seeing an increase in sales in June and a good development in July so far, Chief Executive Paul Schuler told Reuters on Thursday.

“April was brutal, but in May sales started to improve, and then in June we had sales growth in the single digit range,” said Schuler after the construction chemicals maker reported its first half earnings.

“We are very positive for the next six months to come. In July it is a case of so far so good, it will be a good month,” Schuler said, adding the company was doing well in Europe especially in southern countries hardest hit by the new coronavirus.

He said he thought the upturn was sustainable, provided there was no second wave of COVID-19 and tough lockdowns, supported by government stimulus programmes increasing spending on infrastructure.

Sika’s operating profit would increase at a faster rate than its sales during the second half as its factories returned to full production, Schuler said.

Sika could also return to the acquisition trail in the second half of the year, he added, saying it could make up to three deals by the end of the year.

“We are quite eager in this environment to make acquisitions,” the chief executive said. “If we have good opportunities, we are willing to do deals and we have the cash flow to do it.”

Reporting by John Revill; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

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