July 31, 2018 / 5:10 AM / a year ago

HeidelbergCement confident about 2018 after second-quarter growth

FILE PHOTO: A logo of HeidelbergCement is pictured at their headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, June 21, 2016. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

ZURICH (Reuters) - HeidelbergCement (HEIG.DE), the world’s second-largest cement maker, said it expects growth to continue in the United States and northern Europe as it reported a 9 percent jump in like-for-like sales in the second quarter.

“With the positive underlying market dynamics, we’re confident about 2018,” said Bernd Scheifele, chairman of Heidelberg’s managing board.

HeidelbergCement overcame negative currency effects in the second quarter to report an 11 percent increase in shareholder’s net profit to 398 million euros ($466.06 million).

Revenue increased by 4 percent to 4.81 billion euros, beating forecasts of 4.66 billion by analysts polled by Reuters. This was despite the weaker U.S. dollar and Indonesian rupiah reducing revenue by 226 million euros when converted into euros.

HeidelbergCement pointed towards IMF forecasts for global economic growth of 3.9 percent this year, although the company also acknowledged the risks in this forecast from rising trade tensions.

It added that an economic upturn in Eastern Europe will drive demand for its cement, ready-mixed concrete, and aggregates.

HeidelbergCement confirmed its outlook for 2018, saying it expects profit from current operations to increase by a mid- to high-single digit percentage before exchange rate and consolidation effects and significantly improving profit.

Its shares were indicated 1.8 percent to be at the top of Germany's DAX index .GDAXI

HeidelbergCement last month pledged to put a bigger focus on cutting debt, buying back shares and paying higher dividends following its $4 billion takeover of Italcementi, saying it had up to 2.5 billion euros at its disposal.

Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Louise Heavens

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