Lafarge SA reported a 6.3 per cent rise in first-half sales on Thursday, driven by higher prices for its products and strong volumes for construction materials, mainly in the United States. Lafarge, also one of the world’s leading producers of other building materials such as aggregates, roofing products and plasterboard, posted sales of Euro 7.22bn in the six months to June, compared with Euro 6.79bn in the year ago period, it said in a statement. Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast first-half sales between Euro 7.004bn and Euro 7.140bn, with an average outcome of Euro 7.069bn,
"Our previously stated expectation of a six to eight per cent like- for-like growth of our operating income on ordinary activities for 2005 remains unchanged, in the context of a few difficult markets and higher energy and transportation costs," said Jean-Jacques Gauthier, chief financial officer. On a like-for-like basis but stripping out currency, acquisition and disposal effects, sales rose 6.0 per cent.