In the first nine months of the year, Lafarge's turnover was off by 0.3% to €12,210m and the EBITDA came down by 1.5% to €2,790m. The trading profit declined by 3.6% to €1,911m and net financial charges came down by 26.4% to €499m to give a pre-tax profit 1.6% lower at €1,253m. The underlying net attributable profit was 17.4% lower at €604m. Net debt at the end of September was 0.3% up on a year earlier at €14,660m, giving a gearing level of 83.1% compared with 90.9% a year earlier. Capital investment was 12.8% lower at €981m, with a further €41m being spent on acquisitions. For the full year, capital expenditure should amount to approximately €1,300m. Group cement deliveries declined by 5.9% to 101.3Mt, with the turnover from cement being off by 0.7% to €7,766m and the EBITDA being down by 3.5% to €2,310m. For the full year, group cement volumes and prices are not expected to show much of a change on the previous year.

European cement deliveries declined by 9.3% to 24.3Mt, with turnover being down by 8.8% to €2,053m and the EBITDA by 8.7% to €676m. The profit includes €130m from the sale of emission permits, an increase of 68.8%. The volume reduction was less marked in Central and Eastern Europe than in the west, but the profit impact was greater, with a 19% like-for-like reduction compared with 5%. In France, cement deliveries declined by 5.5% while prices were 0.4% higher. Spanish volumes fell by 18.3%, and with prices and mix also being negative, turnover dropped by 27.4%. In the United Kingdom, volumes recovered by 5.6%, but pricing encountered some pressure. In Greece, domestic deliveries fell by 26.0% compared with a 24.9% reduction a year earlier, while the price affect was minimal. German volumes were 0.3% higher and prices were very slightly higher, while in neighbouring Poland, volumes strengthened in the third quarter and ended the period 2.6% higher, but other effects were negative leading to a 5.9% reduction in sales. Poland and Romania also suffered the effects of flooding during May that affected sales. Romanian volumes fell by 16.4%, having already dropped by 34.4% in the corresponding period last year, pricing has been pretty stable. In Serbia volumes suffered a 12.1% reduction but local prices improved. Russian volumes were off by 7.8% in the period, but the third quarter saw both volumes and prices staging a recovery.

Middle Eastern and African turnover was off by 5.1% to €2,970m. Cement deliveries declined by 10.9% to 30.2Mt and the cement turnover emerged 3.9% lower at €2,673m giving an EBITDA 9.1% lower at €934m. The arrival of a new competitor in Jordan led to a 49.4% volume drop there. Volumes were also down by 18.7% in Kenya, by 7.5% in Egypt, by 6.3% in Algeria, by 3.3% in Morocco and by 2.6% in Nigeria. On the other hand, cement deliveries increased by 11.6% in Iraq and by 10.2% in South Africa.

The total North American turnover recovered by 7.5% to €2,503m. In cement, the turnover was up by 8.6% to €1,009m and at the EBITDA level was more pronounced at 36.0% to €170m and at the trading level there is a 164% jump to €66m. Cement deliveries were 4.1% higher at 10.2Mt, improving by 2.8% in the USA and by 8.2% in Canada. Pricing was also better in Canada.

In Asia, turnover rose by 13.7% to €1,988m for the group as a whole and by 10.6% to €1,522m in cement. Cement shipments were 1.6% lower at 30.7m, with the EBITDA edging up by 0.5% to €371m. Volumes rose by 7.6% in India and by 5.8% in the Philippines, declined by 1.0% in Malaysia and by 3.2% in China while dropping by 19.9% in South Korea in response to declining volumes and prices. The Malaysian results suffered from lower export volumes and prices. Grinding has started at the rebuilt cement works in Indonesia that was destroyed by a tsunami a couple of years ago.

Latin American turnover improved by 0.5% to €629m, of which cement accounted for €509m, an increase of 5.8%. Cement deliveries, which includes two months from the Brazilian acquisition, were unchanged at 5.9Mt, while the EBITDA improved by 21.4% to €159m. Cement volumes improved by 6.7% in Brazil and by 6.0% in Ecuador, but were a bit lower in Honduras.  

Lafarge aims to increase its capacity in Iraq from 6.0Mt to 8.0Mt by 2013. At present, Lafarge produces about one quarter of the cement that is being consumed in the country. The Karbala works produced its first clinker during the month of November.