Strategy

Building materials as core business

High-quality building materials as a business will continue to offer interesting opportunities, as global population growth, high-density construction, and increasing aspiration levels continue to generate steadily growing demand for better infrastructure and housing. Many areas harbor a huge backlog of demand in terms of both quantity and quality.

The basis for Holcim’s success over decades has been delivering value-adding products, i.e. services and solutions, with a clear focus on cement and aggregates. For decades, the Group has attached great importance to sustainability concepts, as the processing of limestone, clay, and marl and the quarrying and processing of crushed stone, gravel, and sand depend upon natural resources and significant energy input. In a number of countries, particularly in mature markets and in major urban areas, Holcim is also active in the ready-mix concrete, concrete products, and asphalt businesses. Global expert teams back up these product offerings with a diverse range of services, product-specific consulting, and innovative system solutions specially conceived for major projects. Tailored concepts for complex building projects are another success factor in a number of locations. Holcim runs these business units as profitable operations, not simply sales channels for cement. The operations are regularly monitored in order to enhance their profit contribution.

Global presence

Holcim has operations at roughly 1,500 sites in around 70 countries on every continent, including cement plants, aggregates operations, ready-mix concrete and concrete element plants, asphalt facilities, and platforms for processing alternative fuels and raw materials. The Group’s broad-based presence demonstrates the value of a balanced portfolio, as it smoothes out cyclical fluctuations in individual markets and stabilizes earnings.

Through Holcim Trading, the Group also holds a leading position in cement, clinker, mineral components, and solid fuels trading. Holcim Trading offers a full range of trading services to members of the Holcim Group, focusing mainly on supporting the purchase and sale of such products on international markets.

Balance between global strategic and local operational leadership

Net Sales per Region

Million CHF

2014

2013

Asia Pacific

6,970

35.3%

7,282

35.9%

Latin America

3,012

15.3%

3,349

16.5%

Europe

5,554

28.1%

5,611

27.6%

North America

3,336

16.9%

3,171

15.6%

Africa Middle East

861

4.4%

884

4.4%

Net sales mature versus emerging markets

Marketing and selling products, services, and solutions, extracting raw materials, operating cement plants, and distributing building materials is a local business. Most customers also operate locally or regionally. This is why the operating companies are firmly anchored in their local environment and why Holcim has always placed great emphasis on delegating operational and business responsibilities to Group companies. However, Group-wide directives, which make up the Holcim policy landscape, must be applied and complied with globally. This particularly applies to the Group-wide standards for the professional behavior expected of all staff. Noncompliance with the Holcim Code of Business Conduct is automatic grounds for disciplinary sanctions.

Occupational health and safety has the highest priority. As a consequence, the company focuses on the vision of “zero harm to people.” The Occupational Health & Safety function reports directly to the Group CEO. Holcim considers accidents on its sites unacceptable. The company is maintaining its target for lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) of less than 1.0. In line with best practice, the Group also moved to a total injury frequency rate (TIFR) with a target of below 5.0. The most important risks, addressed by the “Fatality Prevention Elements,” are constantly monitored.