Bruno Lafont, the new chief executive of French cement maker Lafarge SA, has indicated that the group is stepping back from making any big acquisitions in the near future. In an interview with the Financial Times, Lafont said a large deal is ’not really the order of the day’.
There has been frequent market speculation that Lafarge would make an offer for UK building materials group Hanson PLC, which has a market value of around UK£5.4bn.
The reason for the lack of another big acquisition before 2009 is not because Lafarge is less aggressive than its peers but because the takeover of the UK’s Blue Circle in 2001 has given the company enough size, Lafont said. "We did the big acquisition before our competitors. We have taken the time to integrate it and it’s done... What’s left to do is cost cutting," he said.
Among a series of targets is a one percentage point improvement in profit margins through cost savings over three years, the report said.