Lafarge profits up

By Steve Skinner07 November 2008

Bruno Lafont, chairman and CEO of Lafarge

Bruno Lafont, chairman and CEO of Lafarge

Lafarge sales for the third quarter rose +8,6% to € 5,3 billion, up from the € 4,8 billion reported for the same period in 2007. Along with improved sales, pre-tax profits also increased by +0,7% from € 913 million in 2007 to € 920 million for the third quarter of 2008.

Cement revenues for the quarter rose +17% from € 790 million in 2007 to € 922 million this year, while sales for the aggregate and concrete division dropped -10% to €259 million from € 287 million in 2007. The gypsum division also suffered with a -40% decrease in sales for the quarter from € 15 million in 2007 to € 9 million this year.

“A strong contribution from emerging markets, up +40% in the third quarter, and a positive impact following the acquisition of Orascom enabled Lafarge to deliver strong earnings and improved operating margins,” said Bruno Lafont, chairman and CEO.

A Lafarge company statement said that cement sales were the result of improved pricing and a successful cost cutting program, as well as particularly strong growth in Africa and Asia.

Conversely, said the statement, Gypsum sales were hit by tough market conditions in the US, while aggregate and concrete revenues were hit by a decline in sales in the US, UK and Spain. “As a result of improved pricing and cost reductions, we were able to partially mitigate the decline in volumes of aggregates and concrete,” said a company spokesperson. “Also, our value added products in this sector saw growth,” continued the spokesperson.
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