Lafarge reiterated on Wednesday that it expected six to eight per cent growth in operating income in 2005, excluding the effect of currency swings, acquisitions and disposals. "Despite the strong increase in the costs of factors, both performance management and the overall favourable pricing environment enable us to confirm that we expect a six to eight per cent like-for-like growth of our operating income on ordinary activities for 2005," CEO Bernard Kasriel told shareholders.
Lafarge made operating profit of 2.12 billion euros last year, up 9.8 percent year-on-year. Kasriel also confirmed that the group had no plans to buy out minorities in its Lafarge North America business, and that the group remained focused on making small- to medium-sized acquisitions in its key cement units to foster growth. Lafarge owns 54 percent of the North American company.