Blue Circle defence document makes promises but says nothing new.
The preliminary statement of 1999 results illustrates the accuracy of Lafarge's assessment of current performance:
- earnings per share before exceptional items significantly lower than in 1998 or 1997
- almost 90 per cent of heavy building materials operating profit comes from just three mature economies
- developing country profitability fallen to only £28.5 million despite capital employed totalling £1.2 billion, giving return on year end capital employed on all developing country assets of just 2.4 per cent.
Lafarge's offer of 420 pence in cash represents a multiple of 16.9 times Blue Circle's 1999 earnings per share before exceptional items and 24.8 times basic earnings per share.
Bertrand Collomb, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge commented:
"Blue Circle's shareholders have seen no share price growth in the last 4 years. The insubstantial nature of Blue Circle's claim for the future in today's document only confirms the attractiveness of our offer with the certainty of 420 pence in cash, available now".