UPDATE 3-LafargeHolcim increases dividend as CEO focuses on cashflow

miércoles 25 de noviembre de 2015 08:27 GYT

* World's biggest cement maker boosts proposed dividend

* Targets at least 10 bln Swiss francs cashflow through 2018

* Q3 results, however, miss market expectations (Adds quote from CEO about divestitures in 2016)

By John Miller

ZURICH, Nov 25 (Reuters) - LafargeHolcim, the Swiss-French cement giant in the midst of a post-merger restructuring, lifted its proposed dividend and said it now expects to generate free cashflow of at least 10 billion Swiss francs ($9.9 billion) by the end of 2018.

The targets eclipsed third-quarter sales and profit figures on Wednesday that missed analysts' expectations, although some analysts said the medium-term goals were too ambitious.

The tie-up between Switzerland's Holcim and France's Lafarge, announced in 2014, forged the world's biggest cement maker and aimed to cut costs and counteract slumping demand for cement after the financial crisis depressed construction.

Chief Executive Eric Olsen said the company was closing Chinese plants and combining management at businesses there to reduce costs and ride out "genuine declines in demand".

"China is a fantastic example of ... bringing Lafarge and Holcim assets together where we can do things in reducing costs that we wouldn't have been able to do otherwise," Olsen told reporters on a call. "We need to prepare ourselves for demand that's not going to come back. In a situation like that, it's low cost that wins."   Continuación...