Holcim CEO Jenisch to take over as chairman after record year
By John Revill
ZURICH (Reuters) -Holcim Chief Executive Jan Jenisch will become the company's next chairman, the world's biggest cement maker said on Friday, after it posted better than expected recurring operating profit for 2022.
Jenisch, who has transformed Holcim into a broader building materials company since taking charge in 2017, will continue as CEO as the Swiss company searches for a successor.
Jenisch will be CEO as well as chairman "for a limited duration," Holcim said. He will replace Beat Hess who has decided to stand down.
"A CEO successor will be announced within the next 12 months," Holcim said.
Jenisch, a former CEO of construction chemicals maker Sika has overseen a big shift at Holcim, paying off debt and quitting many countries, including Brazil and India.
The 56-year-old German executive has also increased Holcim's focus on North America, its biggest market with 35% of its sales and where it expects further growth.
"The U.S. is the best market for Holcim, the best market for building materials, we are going to have a very strong 2023 in the U.S," Jenisch told reporters on Friday.
He also led a push into 'solutions and products' - a less capital intensive business which includes areas like roofing and insulation systems.
Solutions and products has been the focus of his acquisitions strategy, with Holcim buying six companies in the area last year.
The division now represents 19% of Holcim's sales, up from 8% in 2020, with the company aiming to reach 30% by 2025.
The shift has also helped Holcim reduce its carbon footprint, which has been a drag on its share price.
The strategy appears to be paying off, with Holcim on Friday posting its 2022 results which showed its highest ever sales and profit.
Recurring operating profit rose 3% to 4.75 billion Swiss francs ($5.08 billion), beating forecasts for 4.68 billion francs in a company gathered consensus of analysts.
Sales rose by 8.8% to 29.2 billion francs, in line with forecasts, helped by price increases of 14% during the year as Holcim reacted to steeper energy and logistics costs.
Volumes stayed stable during the year.
Holcim's net profit rose 44% to 3.31 billion francs, boosted by proceeds from selling its businesses in India and Brazil.
The company's shares were up 1.3% in premarket activity in Switzerland.
For 2023, Holcim said it expected to increase it sales by 3-5% on a like-for-like basis -- which cuts out the impact of currencies and acquisitions -- as well as grow its recurring operating profit at a faster pace.
($1 = 0.9351 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by John Revill, Editing by Rachel More, Shri Navaratnam and Kim Coghill)