Lafarge gets its best improvements from Eastern Europe

Lafarge gets its best improvements from Eastern Europe
Published: 10 November 2006

Lafarge’s turnover for the first nine months increased by 17.9% to EUR13,863m and the rose EBITDA by 23.5% to EUR2,959m. The trading profit before exceptional items rose by 29.3% to EUR2,181m, while the net attributable profit grew by 41.8% to EUR1,096m.  Net debt was 36.3% higher at EUR10,261m to give a gearing level of 88.7%, with the buying out of the North American minority being the principal reason for the rise in the debt. Cement shipments in the period rose by 6.7% to 98.3Mt, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 7.4% to 32.7Mm³ and aggregates shipments were 2.8% higher at 193.8Mt.  
 
The European cement activities advanced turnover by 13.9% to EUR6121m and the trading profit pose by 23.8% to EUR815m. Cement shipments increased by 8% to 35.1Mt. Of the major markets, the strongest volume growth was seen in Poland and Romania with increases of 26.8% and 25.5% respectively, with Greece adding 17.6% and Russia 11.0%.  In western Europe, Spain produced a volume increase of 6.1% and France one of 4.7%.  British growth was more modest at 1.4%, while German deliveries declined by 1.2%. Italian and Austrian volumes were broadly stable, while they advanced in Lafarge’s smaller east European subsidiaries.  Western European concrete and aggregates trading profit improved by 25.7% to €176m as ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 23% to 14.5m m³ and aggregates shipments improved by 6.6% to 64.8m tonnes.  
 
North American cement shipments were off by 0.7%, and by 4.5% in the third quarter, with the decline being concentrated in the Great Lakes and north-east regions and demand was growing in British Columbia.  Prices, however, continued to move ahead and the turnover rose by 16.1% to €1,504m and the trading profit moved ahead by 19.9% to €259m.  The downstream operations generated a trading profit 66.9% higher at €176m.