An economic downturn and shrinking construction activity are taking their toll on the world’s second-largest cement maker, which is closing out the year
An economic downturn and shrinking construction activity are taking their toll on the world’s second-largest cement maker, which is closing out the year with staff reductions of 1,500 in the U.S. and 500 in the U.K. Holcim Group officials report that sales of cement, aggregates and related materials fell 12 percent in the first nine months of 2008, and anticipate the slowdown continuing through 2010.
Missing its forecast with a 23 percent drop in third-quarter net profit and slowing construction in many regions, Holcim (US) Inc. has also decided to shut down two of its vintage Great Lakes-area mills Û Dundee, Mich., and Clarksville, Mo. Greenfield sites dating to 1960 and 1967, respectively, their closings will affect about 340 salaried and hourly workers. Both plants were likely on Holcim’s radar to close thanks to next year’s scheduled opening of a 4 million-ton/year plant in St. Genevieve, Mo.
Then-parent company Holderbank launched Dundee Cement in 1958 as a U.S. market platform, and opened the mill outside Detroit two years later. The Dundee and Clarksville plants anchored Holnam Inc., subsequently renamed Holcim (US) as part of the parent company’s transition from Holderbank to Holcim Group Ltd. Outside the U.S. and U.K., the Group also plans to close facilities in Spain, where it is likewise seeing a severe business downturn.