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French cement producer Lafarge has reported a five per cent year-on-year rise in 2012 first quarter sales to US$4.4 billion as higher prices offset rising costs and demand from emerging markets increased
Operating income was up 28 per cent for the first three months of the year to $345.8 million, driven by higher activity in Middle East and Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the Middle East and African region, operating income in the first quarter of 2012 was $408 million, up by $53.1 million compared to 2011 figures - an increase of 15 per cent.
Lafarge is also engaged in a cost reduction programme, which it said resulted in savings of $90.6 million in the first quarter of 2012 and is on track to reach at least $518.1 million for the year.
CEO of Lafarge, Bruno Lafont said, “We successfully launched our new cost reduction programme and it is positive that price actions are taking hold to address cost inflation.”
The company forecast that the global cement market would grow between 1 per cent and 4 per cent year-on-year in 2012, with emerging markets remaining the main driver of demand.