French construction materials producer Lafarge’s sales volume in Romania dropped by 34 percent last year, due to the fall in demand brought about by the economic crisis, while prices remained stable, according to its recently issued financial results. The group’s total sales in Central and Eastern Europe fell by 41 percent in 2009, to EUR 795 million, from EUR 1.3 billion a year before. The depreciation of Eastern European currencies against the euro had a negative impact of EUR 210 million, said the company. “After two strong years, these markets were impacted by the contraction in the housing market due to the economic crisis. The bad weather conditions observed during the fourth quarter also lowered the level of sales,” wrote Lafarge in its yearly management report. In Poland, sales declined by 14 percent due mostly to lower volumes. The extent of volume declines was partially mitigated by additional infrastructure projects, said the firm.
Overall, Lafarge posted total sales of EUR 15.8 billion last year, down 17 percent on the previous. Central and Eastern Europe suffered the biggest decrease in sales, at over 40 percent, followed by North America, with a 29 percent drop, and Western Europe, down 23 percent. Middle East and Africa-based operations were the only one of Lafarge’s geographical operations to have posted increases, with a 1 percent rise in sales, to EUR 4 billion.