Lafarge posts stronger fourth quarter results

Lafarge posts stronger fourth quarter results
Published: 18 February 2011

Lafarge SA on Friday swung to a fourth-quarter net profit of EUR62m and looked ahead to a 2011 in which it said it expects cement demand to grow and to be able to raise its prices and cut its debt by at least EUR2bn.

Sales in the three months to December 31 rose 9% to EUR3.96bn, from EUR3.64bn a year earlier, the company said.

The company said it swung to a fourth quarter net profit of EUR62m, from a net loss of EUR38m a year earlier.

"While 2010 was a tough year for the cement sector as a whole, I am encouraged by the return to cement volume growth in the fourth quarter," Chief Executive Bruno Lafont said in a statement.

"The steps we have taken in 2010, ranging from structural cost savings to strategic investments in growing markets such as Brazil, will provide the foundation for further improvement and growth as we enter 2011," he further said.

"It will also allow the Group to accelerate deleveraging and reduce its debt by at least EUR2bn in 2011," said Lafont.

 "The group estimates cement demand in its markets to grow between 3-6 per cent in 2011 versus 2010," it said.

"Emerging markets continue to be the main driver of demand and Lafarge benefits from its well balanced geographic spread of high quality assets," the company added.

In developed markets, Lafarge said it expects "demand will continue to slowly recover."

"Overall pricing is expected to move higher for the year, although levels of pricing movements will vary by market," the company said.