Lafarge boosted its finances by a €1.5 milliard (€1,500m) rights issue in the spring of 2009. It hasalso raised €750m from disposals during the first nine months, the biggest of which was the sale of its Chilean cement and downstream operations to a Peruvian conglomerate for US$555m (€370m). The next biggest disposal this year was the cement and downstream operations in the Marmara and Black Sea regions of Turkey, which went to OYAK for €163m. The remaining Turkish cement subsidiary, in the form of Van Çemento in eastern Turkey, went to Askale Çimento during the autumn. Other disposals include asphalt, aggregates and concrete interests in Europe and in North America.
In 2009, Lafarge commissioned a second clinker line at Tétouan in Morocco, which boosted the cement capacity there by 1.5Mt, while new production facilities added one million tonnes in India this year and a further one million tonnes at the two Polish plants at Kujawy and Malogosccz, which have both had additional capacity installed this year. Elsewhere, various improvement schemes have boosted the cement capacity by around 1.0Mt during the course of this year. This does nor include the new production line at Lichtenburg in South Africa, which, as it replaced an old facility damaged by fire does not represent additional capacity. 2009 also saw the inauguration of the 2.5Mt per annum Bazian works in Kurdistan (Irak) and a 0.8m extension in Ecuador, both works physically completed in late 2008. Furthermore, the 28%-owned Nigerian associate Unicem brought on stream its 2.5Mt per annum works during the autumn of 2009.
Capital investment currently in hand should lead to around 40Mt of new capacity coming on stream in 2010. This is a very substantial increase and compares with a net new capacity of 'only' 4.5Mt in 2009. Most of this new capacity will be added in China and in the Middle East, with the new Middle Eastern capacity coming on stream emanating from the Orascom acquisition in 2008.
Cement volumes have fallen by around 22% in Europe and in Canada and by about 26% in the USA. Underlying volumes have been broadly stable in Central and South America and increasing in the rest of the world. Prices in Lafarge's European markets have been stable, except for Spain and Russia, where they have fallen. Except for some US markets that have seen price pressures, North American prices have been reasonably stable. Latin American prices have been stable in Honduras and firmer in both Ecuador and Brazil. In the Middle East, prices have been strong in Egypt, but falling in Irak and stable elsewhere. Cement prices have been generally positive in Africa and in Asia other than in China and in Bangladesh.
In the first nine months of 2009, Lafarge's global cement deliveries fell by 9.4% to 107.6Mt and a full year decline of about 9% looks likely, which would take this year's volume down to around 141Mt, compared with 154.7Mt in 2008. Volumes in aggregates and ready-mixed concrete have fallen more sharply than in cement, reflecting the greater dependence on developed markets in Europe and North America for the downstream operations.