H1 Sales came in at Euro 1524m, up 7.1% on last year and 0.8% above Deutsche Bank forecasts. Like for like sales were up 9.5%. Similar to Lafarge cement proved to be the main driver with like for like sales up 10.8% vs. 7.7% for aggregates. Q2 sales were up 6.3% vs. 7.9% in Q1 as the weather effect begins to dilute.
The company flagged that sales were particularly healthy in France, the US and Bulgaria. France recorded strong growth up 9.6% on a like for like basis as did North America and Asia, both achieving +14% like for like growth. The Rest of the European Union (Spain, Greece and Belgium) disappointed with sales down 4.5% on last year. This does not come as much as a surprise as Greece is suffering from a cool down ahead of the Olympics, volumes in Belgium are still under pressure from German imports and both Cemex and Lafarge had reported a flat market in Spain.
Deutsche Bank notes that the outlook from the Ciments Francais is now more positive with the company saying that the development of sales over the period was more favourable than anticipated, which could lead to better results in 2004 vs. 2003. Previously the company was guiding for flat results.