Lafarge sales and profits slip

By Steve Skinner06 May 2009

Lafarge recorded 2009 first quarter sales of € 3,6 billion, down -9% on the € 4 billion reported for the same period in 2008. Pre-tax profits for the period also dropped -35% to € 335 million, down from € 512 million 12 months previously.

A company statement said that while sales in European, US and South American markets all fell in the first quarter, the fall was mitigated to some extent by +58% growth in the Middle East, +13% in Africa and +19% in Asia.

Outlook

For 2009 the company expects markets to weaken further, with declines of between -2% and -5%. "Pricing is expected to remain firm, although the lower volumes will pressure operating margins," said a spokesperson.

"With regards stimulus plans, the government actions taken and the large focus on infrastructure spending will have a positive impact on our markets," said the spokesperson. "Although positive signs are already seen in China for 2009, we expect it to be 2010 before most stimulus plans impact the markets in which we operate."

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