A sharp increase in interim results announced by Lafarge

23 September 1999

The Board of Directors of Lafarge met on September 22, 1999 under the chairmanship of Bertrand Collomb, to close the accounts for the half-year ending June 30, 1999.

Consolidated sales totaled Euros 4,862 million (FRF 31,890 million), a gross increase of 6% by comparison with the first half of 1998. On an unchanged reporting basis, and eliminating exchange variations, the increase amounts to 2.3%, with a sharper rise of 3.5% occurring in the second quarter.

Operating income on ordinary activities, amounting to Euros 623 million (FRF 4,089 million), stood 19% higher than in the same period last year. All divisions of the Group contributed to this improvement: Cement: +19%, Aggregates & Concrete: +5%, Roofing: +5%, Gypsum: +57%, and Specialty Products: +38%.

Analyzing these results by broad geographical zones, the following changes in operating income are observed:

  • Western Europe: +16%, owing to continued economic improvement in France, where the construction of housing, in particular, has risen sharply, and strong growth in results in Spain, where trends on construction markets continue to be favorable;
  • North America: +28%, owing to economic conditions that remain highly favorable in the United States and sharp rises in results in cement (up 19% by comparison with the first half of 1998) and in gypsum (up 179%);
  • Emerging countries and Eastern Europe: +19%, with improvement in Poland, a fall in Brazil, and consolidation of companies acquired in 1998 in Jordan, South Africa, South Korea and the Philippines.

Net income, Group share totaled Euros 221 million (FRF 1,449 million), an increase of 27% by comparison with the first six months of 1998.

Net earnings per share for the period stood at Euros 2.26 (FRF14.8), a rise of 19% by comparison with the first half of 1998.

During the first six months, Lafarge acquired or developed new positions in all five of its divisions, most notably in the Cement division in Uganda and Egypt; in Aggregates & Concrete in the United States; in Roofing in Poland, Turkey and Brazil; in Gypsum in the United States; and in the Specialty Products division in Argentina (Mortars) and in China (Aluminates).

The outlook for the second half of the year is favorable. In a context of positive market trends overall, as Lafarge presses ahead with its policy of reducing costs, modernizing its production sites and integrating its recent acquisitions, prospects for growth in each of the Group's five divisions are good.

"The efforts made by all teams throughout the Group are focused on creating value and achieving operational excellence," commented Bertrand Collomb. "Lafarge should therefore build on these interim figures to present its shareholders with very good financial results for the full year of 1999, while continuing to pursue the international expansion of its operations."



Key figures as of 30 June 1999
  At 30/06/99 At 30/06/98 %
  Euros millions FRF millions Euros millions FRF millions  
Sales 4, 862 31, 890 4, 578 30, 029 6%
Operating income on ordinary activities 623 4, 089 525 3, 445 19%
Net income, Group share 221 1, 449 174 1, 144 27%
Cash flow from operations 615 4, 033 543 3, 560 13%
Earnings figures as of 30 June 1999
  At 30/06/99 At 30/06/98 %
  Euros FRF Euros FRF  
Net earnings per share 2,26 14,8 1,89 12,4 19%
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