Ciments Francais, a unit of Italy’s Italcementi, reported a 19 per cent rise in full-year 2006 net profit to EUR502m, on previously announced sales of EUR4.381bn, up 21.8 per cent from 2005.
The group benefited from the strong surge in operations in the emerging countriesin both the Mediterranean Rim and Asia, with the sole exception of Thailand, it said.
Operating profit rose 35.2 per cent to EUR871.3m, and the group is proposing to raise the dividend to 2.28 eur per share from the previous 1.90 eur payout.
For the current year, forecasts indicate continued growth in the world economy, if at a slower rate than in 2006, while slowdowns are not expected in the construction industry as a whole, particularly in the emerging countries, Ciments Francais said.
’In this context, the Group expects moderate growth in sales volumes and further increases in sales prices, set against higher operating expenses and strong worldwide demand. All this, together with its plans to boost industrial efficiency, should enable the group to keep operating results steady with the record figures posted in 2006,’ it added.