Turnover at Lafarge declined by 6.5% last year to €13,658m, but after adjusting for the exchange rate movements, which reduced the sales figure by 9.0%, and businesses disposed of, there was an underlying increase of 4.6%. This was helped by a strong final quarter, when underlying turnover advanced by 9.6%, compared with a weak fourth quarter in the previous year.
The cement operations saw turnover decline by 8.1% to €6,383m, or 46.7% of the group total, while at the underlying rate there was an increase of 5.3% boosted by an 11.4% advance in the final quarter.
Global cement deliveries were 2.2% higher at 108Mt and operations in Serbia and Moldova were consolidated for the first time.
In Europe, there was a 3.2% decline to 39.6Mt, chiefly reflecting the sale of the Andalusian business to Cimpor at the end of 2002. At the underlying level, cement deliveries rose by 3.4% in western Europe and by 2.6% in eastern Europe.
The strongest increase came in Germany, where deliveries rose by 16.9% as falling prices forces imports out of the market but a near 30% drop in average prices still left turnover 12.1% lower.