Lafarge’s first half turnover improved by 4.1% to EUR8,385m, with the EBITDA rising by 14.4% to EUR1,825m and the trading profit by 19.9% to EUR1,360m.
The net interest charge was 23.4% higher at EUR187m, while capital gains amounted to EUR164m, compared with a EUR2m loss in the comparative period last year. The net attributable profit advanced by 70.4% to EUR934m. Net debt at the end of June stood at EUR9445m, representing an 11.0% reduction to give a gearing level of 84.2% compared with 80.5% a year earlier.
Capital expenditure was 15.1% higher at EUR725m, on top of which a sum of EUR877m was spent on acquisitions, with the stake in Cimpot being increased to 17%. First half cement shipments were 5.0% higher at 65.7m tonnes, producing a turnover up 7.2% at EUR4,974m and an EBITDA 17.3% ahead at EUR1,358m.
Cement represented 54.5% of the turnover and 74.4% of the EBITDA. Aggregates and concrete turnover was 1.0% higher at EUR3,002m and the EBITDA improved by 17.4% to EUR372m, while aggregates deliveries were virtually unchanged at 118.7m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete volumes were 1% down at 20.9m m³. Lafarge’s gypsum operations generated a turnover of EUR826m, a 0.5% decline, while the EBITDA suffered from the drop in North American profits and declined by 18.8% to EUR117m. Overall plasterboard deliveries were 2.3% higher at 363m m², but in North America, volumes declined by 8.3% and prices fell by 17.3% on the falling housebuilding activity.
The European cement turnover rose by 18.4% to EUR2019m, with the EBITDA pushing ahead by 31.4% to EUR649m, helped in no small part by Central and Eastern European turnover jumping 61.6% to EUR501m and the EBITDA more than doubling to EUR198m.