Lafarge's turnover improved by 1.8% to €16,169m in 2010 and the EBITDA edged ahead by 0.4% to €3614m. The trading profit declined by 1.5% to €2441m, and with financial charges being 4.5% lower at €884m and exceptional charges dropping by 51.1% to €111m, thanks to the €161m gain on the Cimpor stake. As a result, the pre-tax profit recovered by 9.5% to €1430m and the net attributable profit by 12.4% to €827m. Net debt at the end of December was 1.4% higher at €13,993m, giving a gearing level of 76.8% compared with 82.1% a year earlier. Capital expenditure was reduced by a further 18.5% to €1309m, while spending on acquisitions, ignoring the asset swap with Votorantim in Brazil, declined by 27.0% to €84m.
Cement deliveries were 3.9% lower at 135.7Mt, but the turnover from cement was 1.7% higher at €10,280m, while the EBITDA came off by 2.3% to €3005m and at the trading level there was a 4.8% reduction to €2230m. The EBITDA per tonne of cement sold was 1.4% higher at €22.10. The turnover in aggregates and concrete edged up by 0.5% to €5093m, helped by exchange rate movements, and the EBITDA advanced by 5.2% to €482m. Aggregates deliveries were 1.4% lower at 193.2Mt, generating a turnover 6.8% higher at €2036m and an EBITDA ahead by 15.9% to €320m. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries, on the other hand, declined by 8.4% to 34.0Mm³ and the turnover by 2.8% to €2838m while the EBITDA fell by 22.6% to €113m. In gypsum, plasterboard deliveries improved by 3.4% to 690Mm², with the turnover being up by 6.4% to €1441m and the EBITDA recovering by 20.2% to €143m.
Lafarge's European cement turnover declined by 8.6% to €2649m and the EBITDA fell by 15.1% to €817m. Cement deliveries were 9.0% lower at 31.4Mt. French cement volumes were down by 6.4%, but prices improved by 0.4%, leaving turnover down by 7.1%. British cement shipments recovered by 3.3%, but a negative mix left turnover just 0.2% ahead, while in Spain a 17.5% fall in cement shipments led to 26.3% drop in turnover as prices weakened further. In Greece, cement deliveries fell by 26.0%, but prices were only marginally lower. In Germany volumes were off by 2.2%, but prices were slightly positive, while in neighbouring Poland, volumes improved by 3.1%, but prices weakened. Further east, Romanian volumes fell by 18.5% on top of the 34.4% drop in the previous year, but the price effect was limited. The Serbian and Russian volumes were down by 12.2% and 0.2% respectively, with pricing improving as the year went on. The western European concrete and aggregates sales value declined by 5.3% to €1988m and the trading profit fell by 34.0% to €62m, with aggregates shipments declining by 5.6% to 61.9Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries being down by 7.8% to 13.0Mm³.
The North American turnover improved by 10.2% to €3336m. Cement shipments recovered by 7.1% to 13.6Mt, with US volumes improving by 5.8% and the Canadian improvement being stronger at 9.9%. Turnover in cement was up by 12.1% to €1333m and the EBITDA rose by 40.3% to €216m, helped by a stronger dollar. North American aggregates deliveries were 3.8% higher at 97.4Mt and the turnover rose by 17.0% to €913m, while the ready-mixed concrete volume improved by 6.0% to 7.1Mm³ and the turnover by 13.0% to €793m. Turnover in plasterboard and other gypsum products was ahead by 2.2% to €184m but the trading loss was €3m higher at €46m.
The Latin American turnover was boosted by five months of the Brazilian acquisition from Votorantim and rose by 13.0% to €894m, of which cement represented a 17.6% advance to €722m. Cement deliveries were 10.5% higher at 8.4Mt, which represents an underlying improvement of some 5%. Underlying Brazilian volumes were ahead by 7.0%, with prices being ahead, while in Ecuador volumes rose by 9.7%, helped by the recent increase in capacity.
Turnover in the Middle East and Africa was 2.9%% lower at €3904m, but in cement it was off by just 1.0% to €3530m. The cement EBITDA declined by 3.1% to €1264m, with cement deliveries being 8.8% lower at 40.2Mt. The main negative influences came from Jordan and Kenya, with increased competition, but sales in the biggest markets of Egypt and Algeria were also off by 5.0% and 6.7% respectively. The strongest advance came in Iraq, with a 12.0% volume increase, ahead of South Africa, where Lafarge sold 8.1% more cement. Initial contributions were seen from new cement plants in Syria and in Uganda. Lafarge's domestic Jordanian volumes dropped by 46.2% as a new competitor established itself in that market. In contrast to the positive performance in cement, the South African volumes declined notably in aggregates and ready-mixed concrete at 34.4% and 23.3% respectively.
Asian group turnover rose by 14.7% to €2680m, within which cement produced an 11.4% advance to €2046m. Cement shipments were 0.5% lower at 42.1Mt and the corresponding EBITDA was 0.8% lower at €480m. Cement volumes in South Korea fell by 11.0% and prices weakened. China and Malaysia saw more modest volume declines, at 2.5% and 0.8% respectively, but there were increases of 7.7% in India and of 1.3% in the Philippines. Following the recent commissioning of its Indonesian works, this year should see additional capacities of 3.0Mt in China and of 1.0Mt in India.
Lafarge and the mining group Anglo American have reached an agreement to merge their British cement, aggregates and concrete businesses, subject to monopolies clearance. This is unlikely to be forthcoming unless a number of disposals are agreed first, as Lafarge is the British market leader in cement and the Anglo American subsidiary Tarmac in aggregates. The Irish, Scottish and Welsh businesses are not expected to provide any problems, but the English ones are bound to because of the combined size of the two companies. Tarmac has one integrated cement works, 118 quarries and pits, plus others in joint venture, 180 batching plants and 69 asphalt plants in the United Kingdom. It is the market leader in aggregates by a considerable margin. For Lafarge it is five cement works, 38 quarries, 100 batching plants and 22 asphalt plants and has in excess of 40% of the British cement market.