HeidelbergCement to keep lid on costs after solid start in third quarter

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – HeidelbergCement, the world’s No. 2 cement maker, on Thursday said it would continue to tighten its purse strings in the wake of the coronavirus crisis after a good start to the July-September quarter.

The German group said construction activity had gradually recovered over the course of the second quarter, but cautioned it was still impossible to provide an outlook for the full-year.

“We have made a solid start into the third quarter. We will maintain our focus on cost savings and preserving liquidity,” Chief Executive Dominik von Achten said in a statement.

The remarks chime with comments from larger peer LafargeHolcim, which also published second-quarter results on Thursday, saying the peak of the crisis had passed.

HeidelbergCement said cash savings from its COPE cost cutting programme launched earlier this year stood at 354 million euros ($417 million) at end June. It targets 1 billion euros in 2020.

Those cuts had helped it post higher-than-expected preliminary second-quarter sales and profits earlier this month.

($1 = 0.8499 euros)

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Maria Sheahan)

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