Lafarge: profit forecast ’challenging’

Lafarge: profit forecast ’challenging’
Published: 20 October 2005

Lafarge raised doubts over whether it could meet its recently lowered profit forecast on Thursday, sending its shares down despite stronger-than-forecast nine-month sales.

Lafarge, which disappointed investors last month when it trimmed its operating profit forecast, said its 6 to 8 per cent full-year target appeared "challenging" due to a weakening in its markets in the Great Lakes and northeast of North America.

"The sales figures are good but the statement on the outlook is worrying,"
said an analyst who asked not to be named. "I didn’t expect that. The stock has lost a lot of ground recently and this is negative for the market."

Lafarge  shares have fallen almost 10 percent since early September when it reported poorer than expected first-half results.
The company said on Thursday that sales in the first nine months of 2005 rose to 11.76 billion euros ($14.05bn) from 10.87 billion in the same period last year, driven by strong prices in most of its markets. Ten analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected sales of 11.54 billion euros.