Lafarge profit seen higher in first half

Lafarge profit seen higher in first half
Published: 31 July 2007

Lafarge is set to report higher first-half profit on Thursday, boosted by price increases, cost controls and buoyant construction activity in emerging countries.  
 
Lafarge will post a current operating profit of EUR1.35bn (US$1.9bn), the average forecast in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts showed on Monday.  
 
This would be up 18.9 per cent on
EUR1.13bn made in the first six months of 2006 by the French group. The 2006 figure was adjusted to take into account the divestment of its roofing business.  
 
This performance was achieved despite an expected rise of only 5.8 per cent in revenue to
EUR8.52bn, thanks to the company’s ability to pass on high energy and transport costs to its customers, and tight cost control, analysts said. 
 
Net profit is set to rise 61.8 per cent to EUR887m.  
 
Lafarge unveiled a plan in June 2006 under which it would cut costs by a total EUR340m by 2008 and lift annual earnings-per-share growth to 10 per cent on average.  
 
Chief Executive Bruno Lafont told Reuters last month he was confident the
EUR340m target was a "minimum" and said  Lafarge was considering launching a new cost-savings plan covering 2009 to 2011.  
 
Analysts will be on the lookout for guidance after Lafont said he expected  Lafarge to beat the 10 per cent earnings per share growth forecast and raise return on capital employed above a targeted 10 per cent by 2008.