Lafarge speeds up savings drive, sees 2013 growth
February 20, 2013 9:35 PM EST
The world's largest cement maker said it would speed up its cost-cutting drive and confirmed its aim to reduce debt to below 10 billion euros ($13.4 billion) "as soon as possible" in 2013.
The French group has sold non-core assets including its European and South American gypsum units, refocused on the cement and concrete business, and cut costs after losing its investment-grade debt rating in 2011.
By the end of 2012, Lafarge's debt had decreased 5 percent from a year earlier to 11.32 billion euros.
The group managed close to 900 million euros worth of divestments last year and will shortly exceed its target of 1 billion euros of disposals, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Further assets are expected to go on the block in 2013, Chief Executive Bruno Lafont told reporters without giving a specific target.
"Our debt will decrease thanks to cash flow, a tight control on investments, our actions on working capital needs and the continuation of our targeted disposals," he said.
To speed up its debt-cutting drive, Lafarge lifted its cost-savings goal for 2013 by 100 million euros and said it would achieve its overall savings plan a year early in 2014.
Lafarge also surprised investors by doubling its 2012 dividend to 1 euro a share.
At 1019 GMT, Lafarge shares, which have risen around 36 percent in the past year, topped the best-performing shares on Paris' benchmark CAC 40 index <.FCHI>, trading 6.2 percent higher at 49.63 euros.
In its outlook for 2013, Lafarge predicted that cement demand would move higher, driven by emerging countries as well as the recovery of housing in the United States, and said it would charge higher prices to customers.
It also predicted that volumes in its cement markets would grow between 1 and 4 percent this year compared with 2012, despite the economic slowdown in Europe.
Quarterly net profit was 100 million euros, compared with a loss of 3 million in the same period a year earlier, while sales declined 1 percent to 3.8 billion.
Full-year sales rose 3 percent to 15.81 billion.
($1 = 0.7487 euros)
(Reporting by Elena Berton; Additional reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Christian Plumb and Helen Massy-Beresford)
Most Popular Slideshows
- Prince Harry & Camilla Thurlow Getting Serious, St. Tropez Holiday Before The Prince’s 30th Birthday [PHOTOS]
- Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Heads to Malta For New Movie After A Whirlwind French Wedding [PHOTOS]
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Caught Flirting In A Countryside Dinner Date [PHOTOS]
- Chris Martin Getting Serious With Jennifer Lawrence, Actress Joining Coldplay Tour [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Tourre on stand says email in SEC case 'not accurate'
- Syrian authorities blocking access to needy in Homs - Red Cross
- Faith in European Union at low ebb, EU poll says
- Former UBS banker gets 18 months, $1 million fine, for muni bid-rigging scheme
- U.S. judge halts challenges to Detroit's bankruptcy bid
- Apple iPhone 6 Actual Release Date after September 9 Confirmed 128GB Variant with New Resolution
- Moto G2 Release Roundup: Specs, Pricing, and Release Date Details
- PlayStation 4 Killing Xbox One Costing Microsoft Millions But It's Fine
- Google Chrome 64-bit for Windows 8 and Window 7 with Mac Beta Available
- Apple iOS 8 vs Android 5.0 L: OS Wars Puts Android to Lower while Apple to Higher
- Nexus 6 on Release Date Confirmed with Phablet-Size Display as FCC Filing Hints of 5.9-Inch Screen
- Google Can Kill Samsung with Android KitKat and Android One: Here's How