Construction materials supplier Lafarge North America Inc (LAF) posted higher fourth-quarter earnings, buoyed by strong volumes and solid pricing gains in its cement, aggregates and gypsum product lines.
The company earned US$98.7m for the quarter ended December 31, compared with earnings of US$68.4m a year earlier.
Sales rose to US$1bn from US$882.9m in the year-ago quarter, helped by a strong Canadian dollar.
The cement sector reported operating income of US$84.3m during the quarter– seven per cent higher than the fourth quarter of 2003. Net sales were US$344.5m achieving an increase of 11 per cent YoY. Excluding the favourable impact on the exchange rate, revenues were up nine per cent.
Cement volumes were 3.5Mt during the quarter, two per cent YoY. US cement volumes were relatively flat compared with last year at 2.5Mt. Canadian volumes were up eight per cent to 944,000t primarily due to strong continued construction activity in Ontario and Western Canada. Average cement prices in Canada wer up three per cent and in the US up almost six per cent YoY.
Sales in its aggregates, concrete and asphalt operations rose to US$623.6m from US$545.2m in the quarter.