Euronext: LG, NYSE: LR
Lafarge, which has held a 39.9% interest in the capital of Lafarge Halla Cement in South Korea since 2000, now owns a 50.1% stake following the acquisition of 10.2% of the company's shares from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board for USD71 million. The State of Wisconsin Investment Board remains a shareholder with a 19.9%.
Lafarge Halla Cement, the fourth-largest cement producer in South Korea, owns three industrial facilities and has an annual cement capacity of 7.5 million tonnes.
“Since Lafarge took its first position in the South Korean gypsum market in 1997, we have pursued a dynamic expansion strategy in both cement and gypsum. Our majority shareholding in the capital of Lafarge Halla Cement represents a significant new milestone. Looking towards the future, it provides us with a platform for further profitable growth in this expanding market” commented Bernard Kasriel, the Group's Chief Executive Officer.
The Lafarge group has been established in South Korea since 1997 with its gypsum activity. With three plants at Yosu, Ulsan and Dangjin, Lafarge holds a leading position in the country's wallboard market. Lafarge is present in cement since 2000 with its participation in Lafarge Halla Cement which employs around 900 persons in three industrial sites in Okke, Singi and KwangYang.
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 €14.6 billion in 2002.
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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; 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 Commission des Opérations de Bourse and the US Securities and Exchange Commission including its Reference Document COB number D03-0375 as updated on June 5, 2003 and November 17, 2003 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.