The Lafarge Group sales amounted to 12 216 million euros at December 31, 2000, as compared to 10 528 million euros in 1999, a gross increase of 16.0%.
The increase results from:
Underlying activity growth of 4.7% compared to 2.5% in 1999. The corresponding figure for the fourth quarter of the year was 1.7%. The variation for each Division at December 31 was as follows:
The year started with an exceptionally strong first quarter and recorded an overall growth for sales in most areas of the world. Excellent sales levels were recorded in France and in Spain. The return to better price levels in Italy, Brazil, the Philippines and Poland resulted in marked improvements in sales.
North America experienced marginal annual growth in 2000; the second half showed the effects of a gentle economic slowdown in the context of some particularly poor weather conditions not only in the third quarter, but also towards the end of the year resulting in disappointing fourth quarter sales. Germany remained weak because of the declining construction market. The overall percentage of sales coming from emerging markets has grown significantly from 39% in 1999 to 47 % in 2000.
Aggregates & Concrete: +8.4%
Strong sales growth was achieved in North America, France and the United Kingdom.
Sales in the emerging markets progressed well in 2000. There was a good overall performance in Europe, with the exception of Germany and Austria. After a short- lived revival in the first quarter of the year in the German construction market, the rest of the year saw a continued slowdown with a negative impact on German tile and chimney sales.
The division maintained another year of sales growth outside North America, progressing by 4.7%, although Germany declined due to the weak construction market. The North American gypsum activity experienced a difficult year. Prices dropped significantly throughout the second half of the year, which coupled with a decline in demand led to a 50% drop in sales revenue in the fourth quarter and an 18% reduction for the year as a whole. This negative transformation of the market came about at the same time as the new low cost plant in Kentucky was in its start up phase, hence too early to benefit from the cost advantages of the modern plant.
Specialty Products: +4.1%
Steady sales growth was recorded in France. The majority of the activities achieved good progress in sales. (The effective date of the spin off announced in November being January 1st , 2001, the Division remains consolidated at 100% for 2000).
- Net structural changes of + 4.1 %. Recent acquisitions contributed 705 million euros of additional sales. The main contributors being Lafarge India, Lafarge Halla Cement in South Korea, Beni Suef in Egypt and Cemento Portland Blanco de Mexico for the Cement Division, Presque Isle in the U.S. for Aggregates & Concrete, Heisterholz in Germany for the Roofing Division, Pioneer Plasterboard in Australia and Nida Gyps in Poland for the Gypsum Division. Divestments resulted in a sales reduction of 227 million euros, being principally the effect of the sale of the flatroofing business in Germany and of Lafarge Corporation's asphalt business in Maryland.
- Positive foreign exchange impact of 7.2% arising principally from the appreciation of the US Dollar.
Increase in Lafarge Group consolidated sales
|Aggregates & Concrete||3,725||3,202||+16.3%|
|Roofing||1,684||1,621||+ 3.9 %|