First quarter 2002 sales

2 May 2002
  • Up 38.6% to € 3 145 million from € 2 270 million including scope changes of € 781 million.
  • Up 3.6% excluding foreign exchange and scope effects with an 8.6% increase for Cement and 6.7% for Gypsum

The sales in the first quarter rose by € 876 million, mainly due to change of scope. The impact was especially significant for the Cement Division which increased by 75,4%.

Sales from former Blue Circle operations totalled € 736 million.

Market trends remained largely unchanged from the last quarter of 2001, with underlying sales rising by 3.6% excluding foreign exchange and scope effects. The sales report for each Division, excluding foreign exchange and scope effects is as follows:

CEMENT: up 8.6%

Strong sales were recorded in Western Europe except Germany which was affected by lower prices. Sales in North America were marginally up by 0.2% compared to the same period in 2001.
In Central Europe, sales were down as the economy remained weak in Poland. Sales continued to grow in the other regions with notable increases in Jordan, South Korea and on the African continent. Turkey saw sales improve significantly due to the revaluation of the Turkish Lira.


Aggregate sales were slightly down by 0.6% compared to the first quarter of 2001 with fewer major infrastructure projects in France, while stocks were being increased by customers in the UK in advance of the implementation of the Aggregates levy. In North America, aggregate sales were at a similar level to the first quarter of 2001. Concrete sales were up by 2.6% with strong growth helped by favourable weather in France, offsetting the decline in North America where harsh winter weather in the Western United States and Canada compensated the milder conditions in the Eastern regions.

ROOFING: down 8%

Roofing sales were down in Western Europe with the exception of Italy; sales were down in Germany by 19% due to the very low level of construction activity for the whole first quarter. Sales in Asia continued to grow particularly in Malaysia.

GYPSUM: up 6.7%

Gypsum sales increased largely due to the continued improvement in prices in North America averaging 91 USD per thousand square feet compared to 74 USD during the same period 2001. At the same time US demand for wallboard has remained solid and with increased production at Palatka volumes have increased. Sales in Europe were stable in France and the UK but declined in Germany reflecting the difficult market conditions. Sales continued to grow in Asia and improved in Australia.

The sales in the first quarter resulting from acquisitions amounted to € 803 million and divestments resulted in a reduction in sales of € 22 million. Sales from former Blue Circle operations amounted to € 736 million. Compared to the same period in 2001 (pro-forma Blue Circle management reporting), sales in the UK were much improved following a particularly poor first quarter in 2001. Sales in Greece grew despite very poor weather. Strong sales growth was also experienced in Malaysia, Nigeria and Chile.


The foreign exchange effect results from the favourable appreciation of the US dollar and Sterling partly offset by the depreciation of the Brazilian real and South African rand.

Consolidated sales as of 31 March 2002
  March 31, 2002
€ Million
March 31, 2001
€ Million
Variation At constant scope and foreign exchange
Cement 1 593 908 +75.4% +8.6%
Aggregates & Concrete 911 744 +22.6% +1.3%
Roofing 298 307 -2.8% -8.0%
Gypsum 298 267 +11.9% +6.7%
Others 45 44 -0.9% -2.5%
TOTAL 3 145 2 270 +38.6% +3.6%


Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbour 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; seasonality of the Company's operations; levels of construction spending in major markets; supply/demand structure of the industry; competition from new or existing competitors; unfavourable 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 Reference Document COB number R01-049 and on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA. 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.

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