Lafarge sees China as one of its potentially high growth areas in Asia, despite difficult market conditions and investment returns below the group's average, chief executive officer Bernard Kasriel said during a visit to Lafarge interests in the ASEAN region. "China is a huge market, but, at the same time, the market conditions ar e difficult ... in terms of pricing and competing with companies that have very different constraints and shareholders than us," Kasriel said at a briefing. Lafarge presently has two cement plants, two gypsum factories and nine roof tile facilities in China, involving a total investment of some US$350m
The returns in China have not been at the levels Lafarge would normally expect, Kasriel said, adding that the profitable operations are two of the four cement plants, one gypsum factory and the ro ofing facility. "The Chinese market is so big that we are very small in market share... Basically, we are saying that in China we are building our presence for the future," he added.