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Lafarge sales up 9% in first-quarter

Company announces volume and revenue growth but 5% fall in current operating income

LAFARGE have reported that sales increased by 9% in the first quarter of 2011 to approximately €3.6 billion, compared with the same period in 2010, ensuring the company is positioned for 2011 earnings growth and is on track to achieve more than €2 billion of de-leveraging and €200 million of structural cost savings in 2011.

Cement sales were up 8%, reflecting solid volume improvements across most regional markets, new capacities in Brazil and the benefit of foreign exchange. Likewise, aggregates and concrete sales rose 12% and gypsum sales increased 9%, due to volume growth and higher pricing.

Lafarge say emerging markets will continue to be the main driver of demand, where the company already benefits from a well-balanced geographic spread of high-quality assets. In developed markets, the company expects that demand will continue to recover.

Operating EBITDA for the first quarter decreased by 2% but remains stable at €514 million (2010: €516 million), while current operating income was down 5% to €224 million (2010: €236 million).

On 18 February 2011, Lafarge and Anglo American announced an agreement to combine their cement, aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt and contracting businesses in the UK. Completion of this transaction, which will form a 50:50 joint venture, is subject to regulatory approvals.

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