As it flags possible asset sales in order to gain approval of a mega-merger with French outfit Lafarge to create the world’s biggest cement, concrete and aggregates firm, Swiss giant Holcim has recorded a 9.3 percent rise in first quarter profit as earnings rose from CHF4.088 billion ($A5.007 billion) in the first quarter last year to 4.323 billion in the three months to March amid higher sales volumes across all product segments.

Driving the result was the Group’s European business, which saw profits rise from CHF29 million to CHF99 million as sales of asphalt, cement, ready-mix concrete and aggregates were up by 24.2 percent, 20.1 percent, 17.8 percent and 8.7 percent respectively on the back of rising sales in France, Germany and…