Lafarge has announced the acquisition of two leading cement plants thus strengthening its presence in Slovenia and bringing it to a new position in Serbia-Montenegro. The worldwide leader in building materials therefore develops its industrial network in Central Europe for its cement business.
Slovenia: acquisition of Cementarna Trbovlje by Lafarge.
Lafarge, via Lafarge Perlmooser (its wholly-owned Austrian subsidiary), now owns 61,5% in capital of Slovenian cement plant Cementarna Trbovlje. The successful public offer enabled Lafarge to increase its previous stake of 22,9% for an amount of 18 million euros. The operation has already been approved by the Slovenian Competition Protection Office and the Securities Market Agency.
With an annual production capacity of 520 000 tonnes, Cementarna Trbovlje is the second largest cement producer on the Slovenian market. The plant is located close to the two major cities of the country (Ljubljana and Maribor) and close to Austria. The already existing links with Lafarge's Technical Centre for Central Europe (CTEC) in Vienna will be reinforced (in particular on environmental audits and alternative fuels issues).
Lafarge will work on further development of the plant and its modernization, mainly on safety measures and environmental protection. Furthermore, the employees integration into the Lafarge Group will be supported by a thorough training programme. The planned use of alternative fuels in the medium-term will result in cost reductions, in addition to ecological benefits.
Slovenia is a promising market with generally favourable conditions. The domestic cement market demand remains at a high level (about 1 to 1.2 million tonnes per year). Moreover, the country has a high level of investment in infrastructure in order to contribute to the establishment of the country as a "gateway" to the South-Eastern European region, in line with its goal to join the European Union.
Serbia-Montenegro: acquisition of leading cement producer BFC by Lafarge, following privatisation process.
Lafarge has acquired 70% of Beocinska Fabrika Cementa (BFC) for 57,4 million euros. Within the privatisation process in Serbia-Montenegro, this operation is the first and the largest since the election of the new government.
With a total annual production capacity of 1.5 million tonnes and a 50% market share, BFC is the market leader in Serbia-Montenegro. Moreover, it has an ideal location just on the Danube - close to Novi Sad and Belgrade (the two main cities of the country).
In order to upgrade the plant to Lafarge's environmental standards and to allow the use of alternative fuels, the Group will finance a 5-year investment programme for 36 million euros. Also concerning social issues (employment, housing initiative, safety,…), it will launch a social programme of 16 million euros for the period 2002-2006.
Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, and employs 83,000 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 €13.7 billion in 2001.
Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbour 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; unfavourable 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 COB number R01-049 and 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.