Lafarge report improvement in operational trends
Like-for-like rises in sales and EBITDA in fourth quarter and for full year to end of December 2013
LAFARGE say operational trends significantly improved in the fourth quarter of 2013 with EBITDA down 6% to €793 million but up 14% like for like, with increases in all regions driven by higher volumes, firm prices and the acceleration of cost reductions and innovation measures.
Sales in the fourth quarter were down 2% to €3,714 million but up 5% like for like, while current operating income was down 10% to €529 million but up 20% like for like.
For the full year to 31 December 2013, EBITDA was down 9% to €3,102 million but up 2% like for like, sales were down 4% to €15,198 million but also up 2% like for like, and current operating income was down 14% to €2,075 million but up 3% like for like.
Lafarge said adverse exchange rates continued to weigh on sales and EBITDA in the fourth quarter and on the year as a whole.
The Group confirmed its objective to deliver its 2012–2015 plan by the end of 2014, with at least €600 million of EBITDA coming from cost reduction and innovation measures in 2014, and to reduce net debt to below €9 billion.
Bruno Lafont (pictured), chairman and chief executive officer of Lafarge, said: ‘In the fourth quarter we saw much more positive operational trends, accelerating compared with the third quarter, while exchange rates continued to be adverse.
‘The Group implemented targeted actions to promote innovation and reduce costs and debt. These measures continue to gain momentum and I am confident that we are particularly well positioned to succeed and deliver on our objectives in 2014 and beyond.
‘Looking at 2014, we expect an overall growth in our markets of between 2 to 5%. In this improving environment, the Group will take full advantage of its three organic growth drivers: emerging markets, where construction trends continue to be very favorable; accelerated growth through innovation; and the progressive recovery of developed economies, starting with North America.
‘We will continue to apply the utmost discipline in capital allocation and our aim is to return to an investment-grade profile this year. In line with this objective and targeting a step-improvement in our return on capital employed, we will pursue the development of our most promising positions through selective organic investments.
‘We notably plan to add more than 10 million tonnes of cement capacity in existing locations in the coming four years in Sub-Saharan Africa, to further reinforce our leadership position in this region and benefit from accelerated growth.’