Lafarge Africa, a building materials supplier, recorded net sales of N299 billion representing a 36% for 2017.
The CEO of Lafarge Africa Plc Michel Puchercos attributed the strong margins in the Nigerian business to cost initiatives and more favourable pricing.
Puchercos also disclosed that Lafarge Africa Plc’s industrial operations in 2017 were stable with plants operating at high reliability levels. He also noted that the energy optimisation plan for the company has been successful with increased use of alternative fuel and coal to offset gas shortages in operations in the West. He said these logistic, commercial, and operational initiatives helped to sustain market share in the year under review.
In 2017, their objective was to optimise their ownership and financing structure. The simplification of their ownership structure was achieved and Lafarge Africa Plc now owns 100% of the AshakaCem shares. UniCem and Atlas were also merged into Lafarge Africa in Q4 2017 for optimal benefit of the fiscal attributes of merging entities.
The South African business thrived in a challenging business environment and operations are set to stabilise for 2018. A turnaround plan was initiated in order to transform the company’s operations.
A detailed review of key projects in Nigeria, such as the Road in Calabar and of mothballed assets in South Africa, led to an impairment of N19.1 billion. The combination of these impairments and the net loss in South Africa of N18.7 billion led to a Group Net loss of N34.6 billion compared to a profit of N16.8 billion in 2016.