In the first nine months of 2007 Lafarge generated a turnover EUR13,279m, an increase of 4.5%, and the EBITDA improved by 13.8% to EUR3,148m. At the trading level there was a 17.7% improvement to EUR2,442m, while the net attributable profit rose by 40.0% to EUR1,534m. Net debt at the end of September stood at EUR9,103m, an 11.3% reduction compared with a year ago, to give a gearing level of 77.6% compared with 88.8% a year earlier. Capital expenditure was 19.6% higher at EUR1,174m, on top of which EUR1,074m was spent on acquisitions, and the interest charge rose by 18.2% to EUR397m.
Cement deliveries in the period increased by 3.6% to 101.8Mt and the turnover increased by 6.6% to EUR7,744m and the EBITDA rose by 16.4% to EUR2,295m. Turnover in aggregates and concrete turnover was 2.9% higher at EUR4,966m and the EBITDA improved by 17.4% to EUR721m. Aggregates deliveries were 0.3% ahead at 194.3Mt while ready-mixed concrete volumes were 1.8% lower at 32.1Mm³. Lafarge’s gypsum business saw plasterboard deliveries improve by 2.3% to 539Mm², in spite of a 17% volume reduction in North America. The very strong cyclicality of the North American market led to a 1.7% decline in turnover to €1208m and the EBITDA dropped by 27.4% to EUR151m.
The European cement turnover advanced by 13.3% to EUR5,871m and the EBITDA rose by 28.1% to EUR1,102 as turnover in Central and Eastern European moved ahead by 49.6% to EUR857m and the EBITDA forged ahead by 76.4% to €381m. Overall cement shipments increased by 7.4% to 37.7Mt as deliveries rose by around 18% in Central and Eastern Europe compared with 3% elsewhere. French cement volumes were up 2.0% and prices increased by 5.0%, while the British turnover advanced by 12.4% as volumes improved by 5.2%. In Spain, cement shipments declined by 4.4% but higher prices still enabled a 2.8% increase in turnover to be achieved. The Greek cement deliveries declined by 4.3%, but the turnover did increase by 3.6%. Lafarge’s German volumes improved by 2.1% and prices added around 11%, while in neighbouring Poland, they increased by 29.7% while prices and product mix added a further 16.9%. The strongest volume growth came from Romania, with a 42.0% increase. The 57.5% increase in Russian turnover was primarily price-related, with the volume increase being limited to 4.7%, while the 24.5% Serbian sales increase came on the back of a 13.9% volume growth. The trading profit from western European concrete and aggregates profits rose by 19.3% to EUR210m as aggregates shipments were 0.3% higher at 65.0m tonnes and the turnover improved by 4.8% to EUR831m and ready-mixed concrete sales were 8.5% higher at €847m on volumes that were ahead by some 2% to 14.8m m³.
The total North American turnover fell by 6.3% to EUR3,635m, with the US revenue falling by 13.6% to €2,125m, but Canada producing a 6.3% improvement to EUR1,510m. Cement deliveries were 4.7% lower at 14.7Mt but the EBITDA rose by 8.3% to EUR392m on a turnover that was off by 6.1% to EUR1,413m, though up by 0.9% on an underlying basis. All of the volume decline was incurred in the United States and Canadian domestic deliveries were ahead. North American aggregates deliveries declined by 1.6% to 103.3Mt, but the turnover improved by 0.5% to EUR851m, while in ready-mixed concrete shipments fell by 1Mm³ to 8.3Mm³. Turnover in plasterboard dropped by 39.3% and the operations produced a EUR5m trading loss compared with a EUR75m profit a year ago.