Morocco’s main cement company Lafarge Ciments on Monday announced a 59 per cent rise in net profit for 2004 helped by exceptional financial results and a buoyant building industry in the north of the country. Net profit reached 1.11 billion dirhams (US$129m) in 2004 after turnover rose 13 per cent to 2.62 billion dirhams with the launch of a new plant in the northern city of Tetouan, Lafarge Ciments said in a statement. The rise in net profit appears to have been boosted mainly by 503 million dirhams the company said it netted in 2004 from the sale of assets, but it did not specify their exact nature. Its board proposes a normal dividend per share of 90 dirhams for 2004, 20 percent above last year, it added.
"We foresee another year of growth in 2005," Lafarge said without giving details. To satisfy increased demand in the north, Lafarge in 2005 will expand the new cement plant in Tetouan and spend 61 million dirhams to modernise a its grinder in Tangier, it said. Lafarge tapped much of its growth in the northern Rif area which benefits mainly of the ongoing construction of what is planned to be Morocco’s largest port in Tangier and that of a major highway bypass on the Mediterranean coast in addition to local capital heavy investment in real estate, they added.
Lafarge Ciments is 69.4 per cent owned by Lafarge Maroc, which is 50/50 percent controlled by Lafarge and Morocco’s largest private conglomerate SNI in which the Royal family is the main shareholder.