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Net sales increase in 3Q12 for Lafarge

World Cement,

Cement sales 3Q12

Lafarge has released its results for 3Q12, which saw cement sales fall by 4% from 38.2 million to 36.6 million t. Aggregates and ready-mix concrete suffered a similar fate, dropping by 1% and 5%, respectively. Lafarge has attributed the decline in sales volumes to declining construction activity in Europe and unfavourable weather conditions in the US during the quarter. However, total consolidates sales figures increased from €4.2 billion to €4.4 billion. This was due to higher prices, measures to curb cost inflation and growing sales volumes in Asia and Latin America.

Operating income rose by 9% to €815 million. EBITDA came in at over €1 billion, up 6% from 3Q11. There were increases in EBITDA in Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, as well as North America, with Asia recording the highest growth of 67%. However, EBITDA fell by 10% and Western Europe to €159 million and by 17% in Central and Eastern Europe to €128 million. Net debt has been reduced by €2.1 billion since September 2011, €350 million of which was reduced within the last quarter.

Year-to-date figures

In the first nine months of the year, net sales increased by 5% to reach €12 billion, with EBITDA up 7% and operating income growing by 12%. Yet cement sales fell 2% to 106.3 million t, aggregates by 2% to 141.2 million t and ready-mix concrete dropped 6% to 24 million m3.  

Lafarge expects cement demand to increase, particularly in the emerging markets. It predicts that its market growth of 1 – 4% will be maintained, and continues to focus on reducing net debt.

Commenting on the results, Lafarge Chairman and CEO Bruno Lafont, stated: “Our actions to generate sales growth and cash, reduce debt, and improve returns, led to a fourth consecutive quarter of positive trends even in a lower growth volume environment. These actions will accelerate as we implement €550 million of innovation and cost savings initiatives in 2013 of our four year, €1.75 billion additional EBITDA plan. We will also extract more out of the potential of our assets with strict capital discipline. Economic conditions are still challenging. We continue to be prudent on our market outlook and we remain committed to reducing debt below €10 billion as soon as possible in 2013. Looking ahead, the fundamentals of our business are strong, helped by the positive trends of global urbanisation. The Group, fully focused on its core businesses, foresees sustainable cash generating growth led by high quality positions, a unique exposure to emerging markets, and a well balanced portfolio of operating assets across the globe.”

Adapted from press release by Louise Fordham.

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