Paris, France-January 24, 2002 - LAFARGE (Euronext-Paris: LG; NYSE: LR) sales totalled € 13 698 Million for the twelve months ending December 31st, 2001, an increase of 12 % when compared with the € 12 216 Million realised in 2000.
The 2001 performance is explained as follows:
· The underlying activity excluding foreign exchange and scope effects grew by 3 % in quarter 4 and 3 % for the full year. For each Division, the sales performance was as follows:
The Cement Division's sales rose 5 % in quarter 4 and 5 % for the year as a whole.
Positive sales growth was experienced in many regions of the world, enhanced by a strong fourth quarter in Western Europe and North America. Sales levels in France and Spain saw renewed strength in the fourth quarter. Sales in Germany were down as the weakness in the construction market continued. The record mild weather conditions experienced in North America led to strong sales levels in the last quarter of the year resulting in overall growth for the full year.
Favourable volume and price trends throughout 2001 allowed the Group to record strong growth in Jordan, Venezuela, South Korea, China, Morocco and across the African continent. In Brazil, sales grew strongly due to favourable price trends. This growth far outweighed the weaker performance of Poland, Turkey and the Philippines, where poor economic conditions affected sales, compounded in the Philippines by increased imports.
- Aggregates & Concrete:
The Aggregates & Concrete Division's sales grew by 2 % in Quarter 4, and by 4 % for the full year.
After the very poor weather conditions experienced at the beginning of the year, steady improvement in the last 2 quarters led to sound sales growth overall for 2001. Aggregates sales in France and the United Kingdom rose in 2001 due largely to favourable price trends. In North America, sales of aggregates moved ahead due to increased demand and mild weather conditions. Concrete sales were stable in France after record levels in 2000, but strong growth was achieved in Spain and Portugal. In North America, concrete sales saw reasonable growth in 2001, rising strongly in the last quarter.
The Roofing Division's sales declined by 6 % in quarter 4 and by 8 % for the full year.
The continuation in 2001 of the decline of the German construction market has severely affected the level of sales in this country.
Outside of Germany, roof tile sales were overall stable for the Division compared to last year, with further growth in emerging markets, but a marginal decline in Europe.
The Gypsum Division's sales were up by 13 % in quarter 4 and by 6 % for the full year, including sales generated by the 2 new wallboard plants in the USA. Sales in Europe experienced reasonable growth in 2001 despite German sales being affected by the weak construction market. In Asia, sales continued to grow strongly. In North America, sales levels rose significantly benefiting from the new state of the art plants in Kentucky and Florida. 2001 was nevertheless a very difficult year in North America due to very weak price levels which began to improve in the late summer.
_Changes in the scope of consolidation had a net effect of € 1246 million : + 10 %
Newly acquired activities contributed sales totalling € 2377 Million.
The ex-Blue Circle operations, consolidated from 11th July 2001, contributed € 1554 Million. Healthy sales levels were recorded by the majority of these operations with a good level of sales experienced in the United Kingdom and North America. In emerging markets, the ex-Blue Circle operations in Malaysia, Nigeria and Chile turned in strong sales performances, Singapore remained weak.
The acquisition of Warren Paving in Canada contributed € 449 Million of new sales to the Aggregates and Concrete Division in 2001.
Divestments reduced sales by € 1221 Million, of which the former Specialty Products Division accounted for € 1166 Million.
_The foreign exchange impact on the 2001 sales amounted to – 1 %.
The positive appreciation of the US Dollar was offset by the weakness in the Brazilian Real, the South African Rand and the Korean Won.
|Dec. 31, 2001
|Dec. 31, 2000
|Variation||Variation excluding Scope and Exchange Rate effect|
|Cement||5995||4420||+ 36 %||+5 %|
|Aggregates & Concrete||4806||3725||+ 29 %||+ 4 %|
|Roofing||1585||1684||- 6 %||- 8 %|
|Gypsum||1072||1000||+ 7 %||+ 6 %|
|Others||240||1387||- 83 %||+ 3 %|
|Total||13698||12216||+ 12 %||+ 3 %|
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Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts 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; 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; 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 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.