The Annual General Meeting of Lafarge shareholders, which was held in Paris on May 25, 2005 under the chairmanship of Bertrand Collomb, approved the 2004 financial statements.
The Group reiterated that it achieved an excellent performance in 2004, with the strong increase of the return on capital employed across all Divisions, and a significant growth in the net income.
Confirming the Group's expectations for 2005, Bernard Kasriel, Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge, said:
« Most of our markets are favorably oriented. Despite the strong increase in the costs of factors, both performance management and overall favorable price environment enable us to confirm that we expect a 6 to 8% like for like growth of our operating income on ordinary activities for 2005.»
The Annual General Meeting set the distribution of a net dividend per share of €2.40, up 4.3% from 2003. From June 1st to June 22nd, 2005 inclusive, shareholders will have the opportunity to reinvest dividends at a preferred purchase price of €62.07 per share. Net dividend will be paid in cash on July 1st, 2005.
Lafarge, the world leader in building materials, holds top-ranking positions in all four of its Divisions: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. Lafarge employs 77,000 people in 75 countries and posted sales of €14.4 billion in 2004.
For release worldwide with simultaneous release in the United States.
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; seasonal nature 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 public filings with the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers and the US Securities and Exchange Commission including its Reference Document and annual report on Form 20-F. 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.