The offer to exchange Lafarge €1 bn bonds due 2008 for a new 10-year benchmark bond was launched on 29 June, 2004 and was priced on 9 July. The offer will be finally settled on 16 July. The transaction was well received by the market and investors, and a total of nominal €560 million of existing bonds were exchanged against a new issue amounting to €612 million.
This exchange offer, which follows a first successful bond exchange for €500 million completed in December 2003, forms part of Lafarge's ongoing management of its debt. It enables the group to lengthen the average maturity of its debt without increasing its amount, and to achieve a more balanced repayment schedule while benefiting from favorable market conditions.
“This offer is perfectly in line with Lafarge's active management of its debt. The high level of interest raised by the offer and the pricing achieved reflect the status of Lafarge as a premium borrower in the bond market", declared Jean-Jacques Gauthier, Executive Vice-President Finance.
The offer was subject to a prospectus approved by the Luxembourg listing authorities and did not constitute a public offer in any jurisdictions other than Luxembourg. Accordingly, no offer was made in Italy, Sweden, Finland or Spain and other restrictions applied in particular in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and The Netherlands. The offer was made outside the United States in accordance with Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933. The securities offered have not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933 and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from the Securities Act.
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 75,000 people in 75 countries and posted sales of €13.6 billion in 2003.
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.