Lafarge sees improved operational trends in fourth quarter

Lafarge sees improved operational trends in fourth quarter
Published: 19 February 2014


Lafarge saw a continued improvement in fourth quarter volumes, supported by ongoing growth in most emerging markets, the recovery in the US and stabilising conditions in Europe.

Adverse exchange rates continued to weigh on sales which were down two per cent in the final three months of 2013 to EUR3714m, but up five per cent on a like-for-like basis.

4Q EBITDA was down six per cent to EUR793m but up 14 per cent like-for-like as the group reported increases in all regions driven by higher volumes, firm prices and the acceleration of cost reduction and innovation measures. A solid performance in North America, Middle East/Africa and Asia particularly supported this growth, Lafarge highlighted.

“In the fourth quarter we saw much more positive operational trends, accelerating compared to the third quarter, while exchange rates continued to be adverse. The group implemented targeted actions to promote innovation and reduce costs and debt. These measures continue to gain momentum and I am confident that we are particularly well positioned to succeed and deliver on our objectives in 2014 and beyond,” commented Bruno Lafont, chairman and CEO of Lafarge.

Net income group share in the quarter was up from EUR83m to EUR213m (from EUR0.29 to EUR0.7/share) benefitting from gains on divestments.

Net debt was reduced by EUR1bn over the year as the group continued to take targeted actions to deleverage and stood at EUR10.3bn on 31 December 2013.

Overall Lafarge sees cement market growth of 2-5 per cent in 2014, as the company expects to benefit from continued recovery in the US, advances in emerging markets and further stabilisation in Europe.

The group confirms its objective to deliver its 2012-15 plan by the end of 2014, with at least EUR600m of EBITDA coming from cost reduction and innovation measures in 2014 and to reduce net debt below EUR9bn. Lafarge is also aiming to reduce net debt below EUR9bn in 2014.