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Lafarge Group

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Founded in 1833, Lafarge is a France-based industrial company involved in the manufacturing of construction materials in the cement, aggregates, and concrete and gypsum markets. Lafarge is currently ranked first worldwide in the production of cement and aggregates and third in the production of concrete and gypsum.[1] It is also the parent company of Lafarge North America Inc. and has several other subsidiaries donning the Lafarge name.[2]

Under its cement division, the company produces and sells cement, hydraulic binders, Portland and masonry cement, and various other blended and specialty cements and binders. The aggregates and concrete division makes and distributes aggregates, ready-mix concrete, hard rock, natural sand and gravel, recycled asphalt and concrete, hard rock, and asphalt. Under its third division, various gypsum products are produced and sold, including wallboard, gypsum plaster, plaster blocks, and various other related gypsum-based building solutions.[3] As of the end of 2007, cement accounted for over 54 percent of Lafarge’s total sales, followed by 37 percent of total sales being derived from aggregates and concrete. The sale of gypsum is substantially less in comparison at only nine percent.[4]

The company is listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol LG and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol LR. Lafarge has 90,000 employees and operates 2,000 industrial sites in 76 countries worldwide. Aside from being a global leader in construction materials manufacturing, Lafarge is committed to developing sustainable products and was the only company from the sector to be listed on the 2008 "100 Global Most Sustainable Corporations in the World." [5]The company also created the Lafarge Research Center (LRC) near Lyons, France in 1990, noted as the world’s largest building materials research facility.[6] Bruno Lafont is the company’s present CEO.[7]

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[edit] History

Lafarge, S.A.'s historical roots date to 1833 when it was founded by Joseph-Auguste Pavin de Lafarge as an industrial lime producing operation. The company’s first big international contract for 110,000 tons of lime, to be used in the building of the Suez Canal, was awarded in 1864.[8] In 1887, the company opened its first central research laboratory at Le Teil in South France. It later branched off into cement manufacturing.

[edit] Going Global

In 1956, the company began to take operations global and opened its first North American Cement plant in Richmond, British Columbia. The company then expanded into the Chinese market in 1994 through the opening of the subsidiary Chinafarge. Many acquisitions over the years enabled Lafarge to penetrate new markets and enter into other construction material sectors. In 1997, the company acquired Redland, allowing it to establish a stronger presence in the aggregates and concrete sector. It also provided Lafarge with an opportunity to enter into the roofing market. The company held onto the roofing business until it was divested in 2007. In 2001, with the acquisition of the company Blue Circle, Lafarge became the world’s largest cement manufacturer.[9] In 2006, Lafarge also assumed 100 percent ownership of Lafarge North America in a buyout of all minority stake shares. The company continued to acquire many other businesses throughout 2007 with the most recent acquisition in 2008 being Orascom Cement.[10]

[edit] A Research-driven Company

Lafarge created the Lafarge Research Center (LRC) in 1990 near Lyons, France. Today, LRC exists as the largest research facility in the sector. The facility is led by an international research and development team of 200 employees. A total of 500 people worldwide are dedicated to the research and development of new products such as Ductal, a high-performance fiber reinforced concrete developed in 2000; Extensia, a non-cracking concrete; and Sensium, a dust-free technological cement developed in 2006.
Lafarge’s cement and concrete products have even been used to construct notable architectural landmarks such as the Millau Viaduct in France, the world’s tallest bridge at 1,125 feet (343 m) high, and the Footbridge of Peace that crosses over the Han River in Seoul, Korea.[11]

[edit] The Company Today

Lafarge’s most profitable markets today exist in Western Europe, North America, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. As of December 2007, Lafarge posted sales of 17.6 billion euros with a net income of 1.9 billion euros.[12] The acquisition of Orascom for US$12.8 billion in early 2008 put Lafarge in a good position to increase its revenue and establish a dominant presence in the high-growth emerging markets of Egypt, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean Basin. Prior to the acquisition, Orascom Cement had been the leading supplier of cement in these markets.[13] There was also rumored speculation as to a takeover of its primary competitor Holcim in early September 2008. After the rumor was leaked, stock prices of Lafarge and Holcim rose but neither company has confirmed anything.[14]

[edit] References

  1. Lafarge Group. Lafarge. 2008-10-07.
  2. North America Inc. Answers. 2008-10-07.
  3. Lafarge SA. Business Week. 2008-10-07.
  4. Lafarge Group. Lafarge. 2008-10-07.
  5. Lafarge Group. Lafarge. 2008-10-07.
  6. Lafarge Group. Lafarge. 2008-10-07.
  7. Lafarge. Yahoo. 2008-10-07.
  8. Lafarge. Absolute Astronomy. 2008-10-07.
  9. Lafarge Group. Lafarge. 2008-10-07.
  10. Lafarge Group. Lafarge. 2008-10-07.
  11. Lafarge Group. Lafarge. 2008-10-07.
  12. Lafarge Group. Lafarge. 2008-10-07.
  13. Lafarge to Buy Orascom. Reuters Business. 2008-10-07.
  14. Lafarge Group. Business Week. 2008-10-07.

[edit] External Links