Lafarge Zement has been officially informed today of the decision of the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) to fine the company €86 million for its participation in anti-competitive practices in Germany.
Lafarge considers the amount of the fine to be disproportionate and will bring the case before the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) in Düsseldorf.
Lafarge restates that a provision of €300 million has been made in fiscal year 2002 to cover the European Commission decision against its Gypsum activities in Europe, which Lafarge has appealed against, as well as the risk related to the German competition authority investigation into the cement industry in Germany.
Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, and employs 77,000 people in 75 countries. The Group holds top-ranking positions in all four of its Divisions: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. Lafarge posted sales of €14.6 billion in 2002.
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 filed with the French COB under the reference number D.03-0375, and its annual report 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.