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Lafarge cautious for 2009


August 3, 2009
By Andy Bateman

August 3, 2009 – Lafarge
remains cautious for 2009 in a statement that accompanied its first half results.

“Based on the market situations observed in
the second quarter, we have updated our outlook on volumes for the full year
2009. While the rate of decline is expected to slow in the second half of the
year as compared to the first half, annual cement volumes in Lafarge’s markets
are expected to be down -4% to -8% overall, with significant differences
between markets. The lower volumes will continue to place pressure on operating
margins. Pricing is expected to remain overall in line with cost inflation and
energy costs should ease in the second half of the year.

With regards to stimulus plans, government
actions and the focus on infrastructure spending will have a positive impact on
our markets. This year the Group has already seen strong benefits in China
and expects most other stimulus plans to drive construction spending in 2010.
Fundamentally, the global cement industry is supported by strong, long-term
trends such as urbanization, demographic growth and infrastructure needs in
developing economies.”

 
First-half key figures  

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Sales down 12% to
€7,991m

                       
Current operating
income down 30% to €1,131m

                       
Emerging markets up
24% to €876m excluding Central and Eastern
Europe

 

                       
Free Cash flow up €746m
to €875m

                       
Net debt reduced by
€1,496m from year end

                       
Net income Group
share declined to €370m

                       
Net earnings per
share declined to €1.51

 

 

(€1.00 = 1.574 CAD as at August 3,
2009).