Swiss cement maker Holcim has beaten expectations to report a large jump in first half profits boosted by strong growth across all its regions and the acquisition of Midlands group Aggregate Industries.
The firm said net income attributable to shareholders rose 82.6 per cent to £286.6 million helped by the consolidation of Aggregate.
Holcim, which is the world's second biggest cement maker, completed the £1.8 billion purchase of the Leicestershire-based company earlier this year.
Aggregate's UK operation also includes Bradstone garden products, Charcon landscaping and the Masterblock concrete block division. It employs 10,000 in total, about 1,000 of them in the Midlands.
Bank Leu analyst Patrick Appenzeller said: "They ( Holcim) saw very nice growth in all regions in the second quarter."
Bad weather in the first quarter had dampened construction activity in Europe, but the firm, which is active in more than 70 countries, reported a 35.2 per cent rise in operating profit in the first six months to £639 million.
Sales increased by £3.97 billion, up 24.6 per cent.
With its solid earnings, Holcim follows in the footsteps of rivals Lafarge, the industry leader, and Mexico's Cemex, which have reported higher results.
Mr Appenzeller said: " Aggregate was great, and of course it also confirms that it was a good acquisition at the right time."
Aggregate makes asphalt and precast concrete products as well ready-mixed concrete.
It helped Holcim to diversify from cement, while giving the company a UK presence and expanding its US business.
Holcim chief executive Markus Akermann said the integration of Aggregate was on track.
Looking ahead, he said the firm expected to see an improvement in results and was likely to report internal operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and ammortisation) growth above a long-term average of five per cent.
The group has benefited from a pick-up in demand for its cement and concrete in North America and parts of Europe while building activity has been increasing on the back of a global economic recovery.
But Mr Akermann remained cautious about rising energy costs, which he fully expected to account for ten per cent of full-year net sales.