Lafarge Profit up 17%; on track to hit Target

French cement maker Lafarge SA, which is in the process of merging with Swiss rival Holcim Ltd, on Thursday said it would meet its profitability target in 2015 after all indicators improved in the first quarter.

The French company said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciations and amortizations, or Ebitda, in the quarter rose 17% to EUR403 million ($448.5 million) and is on track to meet the target of between EUR3 billion and EUR3.2 billion for the full year, compared with EUR2.72 billion last year. Sales rose 6% to EUR2.78 billion.

The company benefited from positive trends in many emerging markets and in Canada even though market conditions in France and Brazil were “mild” and adverse weather conditions hit its business in Algeria and the U.S. Violence kept on affecting transportation in Iraq, an important market for Lafarge.

“The positive macroeconomic trends are expected to continue,” Lafarge’s Chief Executive Bruno Lafont said on a conference call with analysts.

The company added its net loss narrowed to EUR96 million from EUR135 million in the same period a year ago.

“As usual first quarter results reflect seasonality and are always lower relative to the other quarters,” Lafarge said.

Mr. Lafont insisted the performance is uplifting given the costs associated with the planned merger with Holcim amounted to EUR38 million during the quarter.

The company’s results come as shareholders are due to meet May 8 to approve the planned merger with Swiss rival Holcim, which will create one of the world’s largest construction materials maker with operations all over the globe.

Holcim reported a net profit of 310 million Swiss francs ($329.8 million) during the first quarter.

Source: Market Watch

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