Strong Momentum since Q4 & Record 2020 Free Cash Flow

  • Strong momentum in Q4 with net sales +1.5% LFL and Recurring EBIT +14.1% LFL
  • Fast and disciplined execution of “HEALTH, COST & CASH” action plan
  • Record 2020 Free Cash Flow generation of CHF 3,249m
  • Strong balance sheet with Net Debt leverage improved to 1.4x
  • A milestone in the transformation of LafargeHolcim with the acquisition of Firestone Building Products
  • At the forefront of sustainability with CDP Climate A List ranking
  • Good demand momentum in 2021



Group Q4 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales (CHFm) 5,994 6,521 -8.1 +1.5
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 1,037 1,017 +1.9 +14.1
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 17.3 15.6    
Group Full Year 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales (CHFm) 23,142 26,722 -13.4 -5.6
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 3,676 4,102 -10.4 -1.9
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 15.9 15.4    
Net income, Group share (CHFm) 1,697 2,246 -24.5  
Net Income before impairment & divestments1 (CHFm) 1,900 2,055 -7.5  
EPS (CHF) 2.74 3.69 -25.6  
EPS before impairment & divestments (CHF) 3.07 3.37 -8.7  
Free Cash Flow after leases (CHFm) 3,249 3,019 +7.6  
Net financial debt (CHFm) 8,483 10,110 -16.1  

Jan Jenisch, CEO: “2020 was an unprecedented year for everyone, challenging us to be more resilient, while stepping up to take care of those around us. I sincerely thank everyone within LafargeHolcim for their strong contributions, enabling us to navigate these difficult times. I’m extremely proud of how our teams mobilized to keep our people and operations safe, while going above and beyond to stand by our communities. Together we touched the lives of over six million people around the world this year.

“This crisis has really proven the resilience of our strategy and business model. By Q4 we were back to growth, with a 1.5% increase in net sales and over-proportional Recurring EBIT of 14.1% . We are emerging stronger from the crisis, reaching a new level of financial performance this year. We delivered a record free cash flow of CHF 3.2 billion and reduced our net debt by CHF 1.6 billion. Staying focused on our growth agenda, we completed eight bolt-ons in 2020 and signed an agreement to acquire Firestone Building Products, the iconic leader in flat-roofing systems in the US.

“We accelerated our climate action, from our net zero pledge to the global launch of our ECOPact green concrete, all the way to making it into CDP’s A list for climate. Every ton of cement we produced in 2020 was more carbon-efficient and contained more recycled material than the year before.

“We are going into 2021 with strong momentum. We expect further demand in H2 2021 from a broad range of stimulus programs. We are firmly on track to become the global leader in innovative and sustainable building materials and solutions.”


Net sales of CHF 23,142 million were -5.6% on a like-for-like basis (LFL) compared to the prior year and -13.4% on a reported basis. The like-for-like decline mainly results from the pandemic-related disruption, mostly in H1, before returning to prior-year levels in H2. In the context of the global crisis, all currencies depreciated against the Swiss Franc, which generated a negative translation effect of -7.4% .

Recurring EBIT reached CHF 3,676 million, -10.4% in total and -1.9% LFL for the full year, with a largely ‘V-shaped’ recovery across all regions delivering a Q4 improvement of 14.1% LFL compared to the prior-year period.

Net Income3 was CHF 1,900 million, 7.5% lower than in 2019 reflecting the above-mentioned Recurring EBIT decline, partly offset by the reduction of restructuring, litigation and other non-recurring costs, along with the continuous improvement of the financial expenses and income tax rate.

Earnings per share4 were down by 8.7% to reach CHF 3.07 for the full year 2020 versus CHF 3.37 for 2019.

Free Cash Flow after leases was at CHF 3,249 million versus CHF 3,019 million in 2019, up 7.6% , reflecting the success of the “HEALTH, COST & CASH” action plan.

Net debt amounted to CHF 8.5 billion at year-end 2020, a reduction of CHF 1.6 billion compared to the prior year. The ratio of net debt to Recurring EBITDA now stands at 1.4, over-delivering on the 2022 target.

Return on Invested Capital was 7.4% in 2020, equivalent to the previous year, as the company remains on track to achieve its 2022 target of above 8.0% 5.


Through agile and effective crisis management, the company’s action plan “HEALTH, COST & CASH,” launched in March 2020, has successfully safeguarded the health and safety of its people, partners and communities, while mitigating the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fixed costs were reduced by CHF 385 million on a like-for-like basis compared to 2019, far surpassing the initial target of CHF 300 million for the full year. In addition, the reduction in energy prices has led to savings of CHF 125 million on a like-for-like basis compared to 2019. CAPEX was CHF 370 million lower, at CHF 1.0 billion, while working capital was reduced by 11 days on sales. These efforts were pivotal in generating our record free cash flow after leases of CHF 3.2 billion and Recurring EBIT margin improvement across all regions for 2020.


LafargeHolcim accelerated its climate action this year with the launch of its net zero pledge, as a signatory of the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C.” The company set for itself the most ambitious climate targets of its industry, validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reach net carbon emissions of 475 kilograms of CO2 per ton of cementitious materials (kg net CO2/per ton) by 2030. Making progress on its net zero journey, LafargeHolcim delivered a record-low level of 555 kg net CO2/per ton this year. In addition, LafargeHolcim is partnering with SBTi to set the first net zero cement roadmap in its industry. At the forefront of sustainable building solutions, the company rolled-out its green concrete ECOPact globally, now in 14 countries, offering concrete with lower CO2 emissions and recycled content. This was followed by the global launch of the company’s EcoLabel to transparently disclose the environmental profile of its green products, applying to all cement and concrete with at least 30% lower CO2 footprint or 20% recycled content. The company issued the building materials industry’s first sustainability-linked bond, bringing its total ESG-linked funding agreements close to CHF 6 billion, and was recognized as a climate leader by CDP, entering its prestigious ‘A list’ for Climate.


In January 2021, LafargeHolcim signed an agreement to acquire Firestone Building Products (FSBP). FSBP is a leader in commercial roofing and building envelope solutions based in the United States (US). Its 2020 net sales and EBITDA were even higher than the estimates provided in January (USD 1.8 billion and USD 270 million, respectively). The deal is now expected to close earlier than planned, with a very good outlook in 2021 based on encouraging January trends. In addition, this acquisition positions the company strongly to benefit from the expected USD 2 trillion “Build Back Better” plan. This transaction is valued at USD 3.4 billion and will be financed with cash and debt while maintaining debt leverage below 2x. This acquisition is a milestone in LafargeHolcim’s transformation to become the global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions.


Building on the Firestone transaction, the Board of Directors has decided to create a new position at the Group Executive Committee level to lead the Solutions & Products Global Business Unit. Jamie Gentoso, currently Chief Executive Officer of US Cement, has been appointed to lead this business effective March 1st 2021. Ms. Gentoso brings an outstanding track record in business development and driving growth. The new role will align the vision to develop the fourth business segment Solutions & Products into a strong driver of growth and sustainability for the company.

To further improve the company’s simplicity and efficiency, the Board of Directors has decided to integrate the regions Europe and Middle East Africa (MEA) into one new region: Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Miljan Gutovic, the current Head of Region MEA is appointed to take over the responsibility of the broader Region EMEA, effective March 1st 2021. Marcel Cobuz has decided to leave LafargeHolcim to pursue new opportunities outside the company. He leaves a strong legacy of business growth throughout his twenty year career, taking on increasing responsibilities across Europe, the Middle East Africa and Asia and played an instrumental role in the merger of Lafarge and Holcim.

The company’s profit & loss responsibility is now assigned to the five leaders of Region EMEA, Region North America, Region Latin America, Region Asia Pacific and the Solutions & Products Global Business Unit.


LafargeHolcim expects good demand momentum in 2021, with positive trends in all regions. Extra demand is expected in H2 2021 from stimulus programs, as governments announce measures to support the economic recovery with a focus on infrastructure. LafargeHolcim is ready to support these programs around the world, from the CHF 2 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ plan in the US, to the nearly CHF 2 trillion expected from India’s ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ plan, and the UK’s CHF 800 billion infrastructure plan.

The company aspires to globalize the Firestone Building Products business in 2021, to accelerate bolt-on acquisitions and to continue to progress on its 2030 sustainability targets. LafargeHolcim further expects:

  • Recurring EBIT growth of at least 7% LFL in line with Strategy 2022

  • Cash conversion of above 40% and debt leverage below 2x

  • Capex less than CHF 1.4bn

For the 2020 financial year, the Board of Directors is proposing a dividend from the foreign capital contribution reserve in the amount of CHF 2.00 per registered share, subject to approval by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 4 May 2021.


Group Q4 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales (CHFm) 5,994 6,521 -8.1 +1.5
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 1,037 1,017 +1.9 +14.1
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 17.3 15.6    
Group Full Year 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales (CHFm) 23,142 26,722 -13.4 -5.6
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 3,676 4,102 -10.4 -1.9
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 15.9 15.4    
Net income, Group share (CHFm) 1,697 2,246 -24.5  
Net Income before impairment & divestments1 (CHFm) 1,900 2,055 -7.5  
EPS before impairment & divestments (CHF) 3.07 3.37 -8.7  
Free Cash Flow after leases (CHFm) 3,249 3,019 +7.6  
Net financial debt (CHFm) 8,483 10,110 -16.1  
Group Results by Segment Q4 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 51.2 51.5 -0.5 -0.3
Sales of aggregates (mt) 65.8 67.5 -2.5 -3.8
Sales of ready-mix concrete (M m3) 11.3 11.6 -2.4 -2.4
Group Results by Segment Full Year 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of Cement (mt) 190.4 207.9 -8.4 -6.9
Net sales of Cement (CHFm) 15,043 17,498 -14.0 -4.7
Recurring EBIT of Cement (CHFm) 3,112 3,273 -4.9 +5.0
Recurring EBIT margin of Cement (%) 20.7 18.7    
Sales of Aggregates (mt) 256.3 269.9 -5.0 -5.4
Net sales of Aggregates (CHFm) 3,713 4,125 -10.0 -5.4
Recurring EBIT of Aggregates (CHFm) 432 560 -22.8 -19.7
Recurring EBIT margin of Aggregates (%) 11.6 13.6    
Sales of Ready-Mix Concrete (m m3) 42.3 47.7 -11.3 -9.9
Net sales of Ready-Mix Concrete (CHFm) 4,610 5,289 -12.8 -6.7
Recurring EBIT of Ready-Mix Concrete (CHFm) 32 111 -71.4 -71.8
Recurring EBIT margin of Ready-Mix Concrete (%) 0.7 2.1    
Net sales of Solutions & Products (CHFm) 1,893 2,248 -15.8 -12.2
Recurring EBIT of Solutions & Products (CHFm) 100 158 -36.8 -34.7
Recurring EBIT margin of Solutions & Products (%) 5.3 7.0    



Asia Pacific

The Asia Pacific region experienced a good rebound in H2, with strong volume recovery in India, especially in branded cement sales, and strong Recurring EBIT margin expansion. Demand in China in H2 was also well above 2019 levels, partly offset by softer markets in the Philippines and Australia.


Asia Pacific Q4 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 1,489 1,613 -7.7 +0.7
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 349 358 -2.4 +4.8
Asia Pacific Full Year 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 63.0 73.5 -14.3 -10.0
Sales of aggregates (mt) 28.1 27.3 +3.0 0.0
Sales of ready-mix concrete (M m3 )
7.4 9.6 -22.8 -14.7
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 5,243 6,491 -19.2 -9.1
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 1,103 1,364 -19.1 -12.1
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 21.0 21.0    



The Europe region was back to growth by Q4, with volumes approaching 2019 levels. Pricing trends were strong overall though demand recovery was mixed, with Western European countries rebounding most strongly, Central Europe largely resilient and a comparatively softer performance from Eastern European markets. The UK was more heavily impacted by strict lockdown measures as well as Brexit.


Europe Q4 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 1,796 1,834 -2.1 +1.9
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 242 223 +8.6 +13.2
Europe Full Year 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 44.6 46.3 -3.7 -3.7
Sales of aggregates (mt) 111.9 118.7 -5.7 -5.7
Sales of ready-mix concrete (M m3) 18.1 19.3 -6.0 -6.3
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 7,061 7,670 -7.9 -4.2
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 927 990 -6.3 -2.5
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 13.0 12.7    


Latin America

Latin America delivered an outstanding 2020 performance. Q4 volumes in all business segments were significantly ahead of last year, with cement demand growth in major markets for the year. Growth was driven by strong branded products sales in retail and distribution channels, resulting in another quarter of outstanding Recurring EBIT margin improvement.


Latin America Q4 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 622 647 -3.9 20.1
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 204 173 17.7 42.1
Latin America Full Year 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 23.9 24.7 -3.0 -3.0
Sales of aggregates (mt) 4.8 4.1 17.4 17.4
Sales of ready-mix concrete (M m3) 4.0 4.9 -18.8 -18.8
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 2,225 2,620 -15.1 2.4
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 696 715 -2.6 13.4
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 31.0 27.2    


Middle East Africa

Successful turnaround efforts are driving solid performance and further Recurring EBIT margin improvement in the Middle East Africa region, despite softer cement demand in most countries and COVID-19 impacts. Resilient cement volumes were supported by strong branded products sales and good growth in Nigeria.


Middle East Africa Q4 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 569 714 -20.2 -3.2
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 88 96 -9.3 +14.4
Middle East Africa Full Year 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 33.3 35.6 -6.4 -6.4
Sales of aggregates (mt) 3.5 6.3 -44.9 -44.9
Sales of ready-mix concrete (M m3) 2.7 3.8 -27.2 -27.2
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 2,349 2,903 -19.1 -8.9
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 330 390 -15.3 -4.7
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 13.8 13.3    


North America

North America showed strong improvement in its Recurring EBIT margin. Volumes recovered across all business segments in Q4 in the region, supported by excellent execution of the “HEALTH, COST & CASH” action plan and effective price management. This strong performance was partially offset by a slowdown in Canada West, which was affected by decline in the oil & gas industry.

North America Q4 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 1,392 1,557 -10.6 -2.4
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 269 257 +4.4 +13.9
North America Full Year 2020 2019 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 19.8 20.8 -4.8 -4.8
Sales of aggregates (mt) 108.0 113.5 -4.9 -5.0
Sales of ready-mix concrete (M m3) 10.0 10.2 -1.3 -1.7
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 5,749 6,311 -8.9 -3.3
Recurring EBIT (CHFm) 1,033 1,035 -0.3 +5.8
Recurring EBIT margin (%) 18.0 16.4    



Restructuring, litigation and other non-recurring costs stood at CHF 89 million, compared to CHF 190 million in 2019 and CHF 476 million in 2018.

Net financial expenses for 2020 totaled CHF 623 million versus CHF 712 million in the prior year.

The income tax rate excluding impairment and divestments was 25% , 1% lower than in 2019.

Reflecting all the above, 2020 Net income group share amounted to CHF 1,697 million.

Excluding impairment and divestments, EPS was down 8.7% to CHF 3.07 for 2020. On a reported basis, EPS was CHF 2.74 for 2020.

Net capital expenditure for 2020 was CHF 1,026 million. Free Cash Flow after leases stood at CHF 3,249 million, up 7.6% compared to 2019. This led to a ratio of cash conversion, defined as Free Cash Flow after leases relative to Recurring EBITDA after leases, of 58% in 2020.


Reconciling measures of Profit and Loss to LafargeHolcim Group Consolidated Statement of Income

Million CHF FY 2020 FY 2019
Net sales 23,142 26,722
Recurring operating costs (17,974) (21,093)
Share of profit of joint ventures 448 548
Recurring EBITDA after leases 5,616 6,177
Depreciation and amortization of property, plant and equipment, intangible and long-term  assets
(1,940) (2,075)
Recurring EBIT 3,676 4,102

Restructuring, litigation and other non-recurring costs

(89) (190)
Impairment of operating assets (215) (80)
Operating profit 3,371 3,833


Reconciliation of Net Income before impairment and divestments with Net Income as disclosed in Financial Statements

Million CHF FY 2020 FY 2019
Net income before impairment and divestments 2,218 2,323
Net income before impairment and divestments, Non-Controlling interests 318 268
Net income before impairment and divestments, Group share 1,900 2,055


(203) (66)
Profit/(loss) on divestments (14) 255
Net income 2,002 2,513

Adjustments disclosed net of taxation


Reconciliation of Free Cash Flow after leases to the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows

Million CHF FY 2020 FY 2019
Cash flow from operating activities 4,618 4,825
Purchase of property, plant and equipment (1,114) (1,534)
Disposal of property and equipment 88 137
Repayment of long-term lease liabilities (342) (409)
Free Cash Flow after leases 3,249 3,019


Reconciliation of Net financial debt to the Consolidated Statement of financial position

Million CHF FY 2020 FY 2019
Current financial liabilities 2,064 2,089
Long-term financial liabilities 11,710 12,202
Cash and cash equivalents
5,190 4,148

Short-term derivative assets

30 28
Long-term derivative assets 70 5
Net financial debt 8,483 10,110


Non-gaap definitions

Some non-GAAP measures are used in this release to help describe the performance of LafargeHolcim. A full set of these non-GAAP definitions can be found at the link in the documents box above.


Additional information

2020 Integrated Annual Report

For its 2020 annual report, LafargeHolcim has continued to apply the principles of Integrated Reporting. Besides the financial results the report includes more comprehensive information on the company’s non-financial performance and commitments, a central component of the strategy and the principles of the company. The Integrated Annual Report 2020 and other information on the results can be accessed via the document box above.

Due to restrictions caused by COVID-19, the media conference at 09:00am CET and analyst’s conference at 11:00am CET will be held virtually. In order to participate in the media conference or analyst’s conference, please click here. 

The financial statements based on IFRS can be found on the LafargeHolcim Group website.

About LafargeHolcim

As the world’s global leader in building solutions, LafargeHolcim is reinventing how the world builds to make it greener and smarter for all. On its way to becoming a net zero company, LafargeHolcim offers global solutions such as ECOPact, enabling carbon-neutral construction. With its circular business model, the company is a global leader in recycling waste as a source of energy and raw materials through products like Susteno, its leading circular cement. Innovation and digitalization are at the core of the company’s strategy, with more than half of its R&D projects dedicated to greener solutions. LafargeHolcim’s 70,000 employees are committed to improving quality of life across more than 70 markets through its four business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates and Solutions & Products. 

Important disclaimer - forward-looking statements:

This document contains forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements do not constitute forecasts regarding results or any other performance indicator, but rather trends or targets, as the case may be, including with respect to plans, initiatives, events, products, solutions and services, their development and potential. Although LafargeHolcim believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions as at the time of publishing this document, investors are cautioned that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of LafargeHolcim, including but not limited to the risks described in the LafargeHolcim's annual report available on its website ( and uncertainties related to the market conditions and the implementation of our plans. Accordingly, we caution you against relying on forward-looking statements. LafargeHolcim does not undertake to provide updates of these forward-looking statements.

1 Group share

2 After leases

3 before impairment & divestments, Group share

4 before impairment & divestments

5 at constant scope

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