Lafarge returns to profit in first half, holds target

26th July 2013, Comments 0 comments

Lafarge, the world's biggest cement maker, switched to a net profit in the first six months of the year, it said on Friday noting that last year's figures were dragged down by one-time expenses.

For the January-June period, Lafarge recorded a net profit of 84 million euros ($111 million), up from a loss of 21 million euros a year earlier.

For the second quarter, net profit shot up to 201 million euros from 39 million euros in the same three months in 2012 when it was hit by a one-off cost.

Although sales slid by 2 percent in the first six months of 2013, to 7.25 billion euros, much on the back of unfavourable weather and temporary fuel shortage in Egypt, Lafarge said it had shrunk its net debt by 700 million.

And it repeated its aim of reducing this to below 10 billion euros in 2013 and under nine billion euros in 2014.

In its outlook for the full year 2013, it said it expected cement demand in its markets to grow by between zero to three percent compared with 2012.

"Emerging markets continue to be the main driver of demand and Lafarge will benefit from its well-balanced geographic spread of high quality assets," it said.

It warned however that prices are expected to rise on the year on the whole due to cost inflation.

© 2013 AFP

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