2005 Nine months sales report

20 October 2005
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Euronext: LG, NYSE: LR

  • Sales up 8.2% to € 11,759 million
  • Positive pricing trends in most markets
  • Our few difficult markets evolving as expected, however with some weaker North American markets
  • Sales were up 8.2% to € 11,759 million as at September 30, 2005 compared to € 10,870 million for the first nine months of 2004. The net scope effect was at 0.6%. Foreign exchange variations impacted sales by 0.2%. Like for like sales rose by 7.4% for the first nine months of the year and by 9.5% in the third quarter.

    “We are continuing to experience good overall pricing trends in most of our markets, in a context of higher energy and transportation costs. The situation in our few difficult markets is evolving as expected, with continued weakness in Germany and, in cement, ongoing severe price competition in Brazil, stabilization of prices in South Korea and prices back to their previous levels in Malaysia. However, some North American markets (North East and the Great Lakes) have recently appeared softer. In this context, our previously stated full year expectation of like for like current operating income growth now appears challenging” said Jean-Jacques Gauthier, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

    The sales report for each Division, excluding foreign exchange, scope effects, and before inter divisional sales elimination is as follows:

    CEMENT: +8.1% (+2.1% in Quarter 1, +9.9% in Quarter 2, + 10.8% in Quarter 3).

    Cement sales grew 8.1% with a very good third quarter. Volumes, to date, are 1.2% ahead of the strong levels achieved in the same period of 2004. Year on year price growth was significant, in an environment of higher energy and transportation costs.

    In Western Europe, sales are up overall with good growth in France and Spain. Solid price improvements were experienced in Germany and the UK. The favorable pricing trends across much of the region served to offset the lower volumes in Germany, Greece and the UK.

    North America posted strong sales, with strong price increases throughout the first nine months. Volumes growth in our Western, River and Southeastern markets have more than compensated for weaker Northeastern and Lakes markets.

    Sales in Eastern Europe are well ahead of last year's with a very strong third quarter. Romania, Serbia and Russia continue to post robust sales, with strong pricing performance in Russia and Serbia. Poland had a strong third quarter, however its market remains uncertain and year-to-date volumes are still below 2004 levels.

    Strong sales growth was recorded in the Mediterranean Basin particularly in Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and with an improving trend in Morocco.

    In Africa, sales benefit from favourable volume trends, particularly in Kenya and South Africa. Prices were up in all markets along within the rise in input costs.

    Sales evolution in Asia remain very contrasted. Volumes grew in India and Malaysia but stayed weak in South Korea and the Philippines. The overall decline in sales is attributable to the severe price conditions experienced in Malaysia and South Korea in the first half. During the third quarter, however, prices are back to their previous levels in Malaysia and have stabilized in South Korea.

    In Latin America, sales are slightly down, essentially reflecting the ongoing severe price competition in Brazil. On the other hand, Venezuela and Chile continued to show good improvement.

    AGGREGATES & CONCRETE: +10.0% (+4.5% in Quarter 1, +13.6% in Quarter 2, +10.2% in Quarter 3)

    The strong growth in Aggregates and Concrete has been driven by continued solid pricing gains in a context of rising costs throughout most markets and good volumes, in the second and third quarters.

    Aggregates sales growth were particularly robust in North America, driven by favorable prices and volumes. In Western Europe, sales are up as a result of good pricing trends, although volumes remain down after the weak, weather impacted, first quarter and a decline of the UK market. Good market conditions were seen in the majority of our emerging markets. The Asphalt and Paving activity, driven in North America and the UK by volumes and prices, improved from 2004 levels.

    In Concrete, sales increased strongly in Western Europe, driven by favorable pricing actions, product and customer mix and strong volumes in all markets but Greece. In North America good price and product mix improvements more than offset the decline in volumes. We also saw strong increase in most emerging countries, particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

    ROOFING: -3.4% (-9.1% in Quarter 1, -3.8% in Quarter 2, +0.8% in Quarter 3)

    In Western Europe, over the nine months, sales are down in most countries, with the exception of Italy and Scandinavia. The severe drop in volumes and prices in Germany continued through the third quarter although the gap from last year is reducing. Good housing market conditions continued to drive sales growth in the United States, both in volumes and prices.

    GYPSUM: +7.4% (+4.5% in Quarter 1, +9.7% in Quarter 2, +7.6% in Quarter 3)

    The increase in sales was largely driven by favorable market conditions in North America, resulting in successful price increases and volume growth. Sales volumes in Western Europe were relatively flat, pulled down by Germany, but positive pricing contributed to increase sales. In Asia sales declined, mainly as a result of a weaker market in South Korea.


    The positive foreign currency translation impact on sales was limited, with the decline in the US Dollar versus the euro being more than offset by the appreciation of several other currencies (in particular, the Canadian dollar, the South Korean won and the Polish zloty).


    Sales from acquisitions amounted to a positive scope effect of € 154 million largely due to the acquisition of Cementos Selva Alegre in Ecuador in December 2004, of Hupfer Holdings in France (May 2004) and of the assets of The Concrete Company in the United States (April 2004). The negative scope effect, stemming mostly from disposals in the UK and North America, totaled € 84 million.

    Consolidated sales as of 30 September 2005
    September 30, 2005
    € Million
    September 30, 2004
    € Million
    Variation At constant scope and foreign exchange At constant scope and foreign exchange, before inter divisional sales elimination
    Cement 5,634 5,174 +8.9% +7.9% +8.1%
    Aggregates & Concrete 3,920 3,515 +11.5% +10.1% +10.0%
    Roofing 1,108 1,123 -1.3% -3.4% -3.4%
    Gypsum 1,081 1,009 +7.1% +7.3% +7.4%
    Others 16 49 -67.3% +16.2% NA
    TOTAL 11,759 10,87 +8.2% +7.4% NA

    Lafarge's next financial publication - 2005 full year sales- will be on January 26, 2006 (before the Euronext stock market opens).

    Lafarge, the world leader in building materials, holds top-ranking positions in all four of its Divisions: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. Lafarge employs 77,000 people in 75 countries and posted sales of €14.4 billion in 2004.

    For release worldwide with simultaneous release in the United States.

    Communications Investor Relations
    Stéphanie Tessier
    33-1 44-34-92-32 stephanie.tessier@lafarge.com
    Yvon Brind'amour
    33-1 44-34-92-93
    Amanda Jones
    33-1 44-34-19-47
    Danièle Daouphars
    33-1 44-34-92-93

    Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our expected operating income, are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions ("Factors"), which are difficult to predict. Some of the Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the cyclical nature of the Company's business; national and regional economic conditions in the countries in which the Group does business; currency fluctuations; seasonal nature of the Company's operations; levels of construction spending in major markets; supply/demand structure of the industry; competition from new or existing competitors; unfavorable weather conditions during peak construction periods; changes in and implementation of environmental and other governmental regulations; our ability to successfully identify, complete and efficiently integrate acquisitions; our ability to successfully penetrate new markets; and other Factors disclosed in the Company's public filings with the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers and the US Securities and Exchange Commission including its Reference Document and annual report on Form 20-F. In general, the Company is subject to the risks and uncertainties of the construction industry and of doing business throughout the world. The forward-looking statements are made as of this date and the Company undertakes no obligation to update them, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

    Conference Call on Half Year Sales to September 30th , 2005
    Following the release of Lafarge's sales to September 30th , 2005, a conference call will be held on:
    October 20th, 2005 at 15:30 French time, in English
    (14:30 UK time; 09:30AM EDT in North America)
    The speakers will be:
    Jean-Jacques Gauthier – Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President
    Yvon Brind'Amour - Vice-President Investor Relations and Equity Financing
    Danièle Daouphars – Manager Investor Relations

    If you wish to participate in the conference call, please dial:
    From France: +33 (0)1 70 99 35 06
    From UK toll free (UK only): 0800 358 3798
    From UK dial in local number: + 44 (0) 20 7947 5018
    From USA toll free (US only): +186 6432 7186
    Conference call name: “Lafarge

    A replay of the conference call will be available from October 20th, 2005 at 7.30 pm French time to October 27th, 2005 at 7.30 pm at the following numbers:
    From France +33(0) 4 88 91 53 52
    From UK toll free (UK only): 0800 358 5416
    From UK dial in local number: +44 0207 081 9440
    From USA toll free (US only): +1866 717 8634

    Access code for all numbers: 814642

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