The Lafarge group opened a brand new, ultra modern cement plant in Tetouan, Morocco on 28 May 2004. With a production capacity of one million tonnes, the new plant was designed to meet fast-growing demand in Morocco's northern provinces. Altogether, the group invested 120 million euros in the new plant.
The industrial performances of the new plant are comparable to the best cement plants in the world, notably in terms of energy consumption and product quality. In addition to energy savings generated by the choice of production methods, 40% of the plant's electricity needs will be supplied by renewable energy generated by a local windfarm. Wind power will replace electricity produced by thermal power plants, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is a world premiere. Environmental protection efforts accounted for 15% of the total investment in the new plant.
To meet the growing needs of the Moroccan market, Lafarge will continue to make the necessary investments in production capacity in the years ahead to safeguard its leading position in the country. The group also announced that it is investing 80 million euros in the construction of a new 900,000 tonne production line at the Bouskoura cement plant near Casablanca. The new Tetouan plant was also designed to accommodate a second production line as soon as more capacity is needed to meet market demand.
“Together with the increase of capacity in Bouskoura, the successful start of our new cement plant in Tetouan will enable us to pursue our development in this fast-growing market with very good returns and excellent environmental performance. These investments are perfectly consistent with Lafarge's long-term business strategy, particularly directed towards growing markets”, said Bernard Kasriel, CEO of Lafarge.
Notes to the Editors:
1.Lafarge Maroc, a 50% subsidiary of Lafarge held in partnership with SNI (Société Nationale d'Investissement), has 4 cement plants in Bouskoura, Tangiers, Meknes and Tetouan, and a total capacity of 4.2 million tonnes, before the increase in capacity of the Bouskoura plant. In 2003, Lafarge Ciments Maroc posted sales of 275.3 million euros and a consolidated income of 106.5 million euros, increasing by 12.5% and 18.5% respectively, compared with 2002.
2.Overall, in 2003, the Cement division of the Lafarge Group posted a 46% share of its sales and a 42% share of its operating income in developing countries.
3.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 and operating income of €1.9 billion in 2003.
Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our expected operating income, 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.