US winter and foreign exchange woes impact Lafarge’s earnings

Suzie Neuwirth

FRENCH cement company Lafarge, which has agreed a mega-merger with Swiss rival Holcim, yesterday posted a fall in first-quarter revenues and flat earnings, hit by currency headwinds and a harsh US winter.

“Our first quarter results confirmed the positive trends experienced at the end of last year,” said chief executive Bruno Lafont. “Our volumes were supported by continuing growth in emerging markets and the progressive improvement in several European markets. North America was affected by a harsh winter but the underlying market trends are positive.”

The Paris-listed firm posted flat first-quarter earnings of €343m (£281.36m) and sales of €2.63bn, short of analysts’ average prediction of €356m earnings.

Its full-year outlook expected to see demand grow by between two and five per cent.

The merger will create a company with sales of €32bn and bring synergies of €1.4bn over three years.