In spite of the general elections, market uncertainty and keen competition cement/construction sector, Lafarge Africa yesterday announced a profit after tax of N8.621 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015 from N7.202 billion in the same period 2014 and N14.6 billion cash from its operations.
Mr. Olusegun Osunkeye; Chairman, Board of Directors, at the announcement stated that the company has delivered a good performance in spite of the general elections and market uncertainty.
The cement industry which has experienced an immense growth over the past few years saw Lafarge Africa record a revenue of N57 billion in the first quarter of 2015, which is 15 per cent higher than the preceding year of a little over N48 billion.
Mr. Guillaume Roux; Group Managing Director of the company stated that the company achieved stability in its operations, marked by solid performance. According to him, the consolidation of our businesses and expansion projects presents an excellent foundation for future growth.
“Our management team is fully mobilized to deliver operational excellence whilst also leveraging on the strength of the Lafarge Group,’’ he said.
Mr. Olusegun Osunkeye noted that the company expanded in the quarter to commence aggregate business in the country through a Nigerian Ready Mix business. He explained that it is a remarkable step for the company in achieving its objectives of delivering innovative and quality building solutions.
The statement released said that the board of directors of the company granted approval for a Mandatory Tender Offer to all qualifying shareholders of Ashaka Cement Plc in 2014.
“Consequently, the Tender Offer is now concluded and regulatory approval has been obtained for the approval of the shares transferred”. Lafarge Africa ownership stake in Ashaka Cement has increased to 82.46 per cent from 58.61 per cent. We expect final regulatory approval in the coming weeks.
Mr. Guillaume Roux pointed out that Unicem had a strong operational performance, with very solid volumes and the company generated the strongest profit margin in the group. However, he added, the operation was affected by the devaluation of the Naira, which resulted in N8.0 billion Unrealized Exchange Losses, posted in the first quarter.
Mr. Guillaume Roux added that the company expects cement demand to increase in both Nigeria and South Africa in 2015. Which he attributed to the increasing needs for housing and infrastructures in Nigeria and the presence of cash flow from South Africa.
On the future outlook, “2015 stands to be an interesting year and we are very confident about future performance. The underlying growth trend in our sales reflects the huge market opportunities for cement sales and other business lines such as Ready-Mix and Aggregates”.