HeidelbergCement stops hiring, investments due to coronavirus crisis
HeidelbergCement has shut down factories in Italy and imposed a freeze on hiring and non-essential spending as the world’s second-biggest cement maker grapples with a coronavirus pandemic it says has hit the world “like a wave.”
The German company, which competes with larger rival LafargeHolcim, joined businesses across the world in warning it was unable to predict its prospects for 2020 as the crisis brings economies to a standstill.
“You can see it’s hitting the world like a wave,” Chief Executive Dominik von Achten said on Thursday. “It’s a tough test for the company but also probably for German society.”
Von Achten told reporters the group was holding a crisis call at 0800 CET (0700 GMT) every day to get an overview over how the virus was affecting staff. So far, seven employees have tested positive, he said.
After a particularly strong start to the business year, von Achten said construction projects were now being delayed in the United States, while activity in France and Spain was also starting to weaken.