Materials giant records sales of £2.6bn, up 28% on the first three months of 2005.

Materials giant Lafarge has posted record first-quarter sales, with a 28.1% year-on-year jump to €3.8bn (£2.6bn) in first three months of 2006.

The figures contrast with a weak first quarter in 2005, and reflect both price increases due to high energy and transport costs and foreign exchange variations, which improved the figures by 6.7%.

In the firm's different divisions, cement sales saw a 28.4% hike to €1.8bn (£1.2bn) in the period, while aggregates and concrete were up 36.3% to €1.2bn (£0.8bn). Roofing sales rose 13.4% to €304m (£209m), and gypsum rose 17.4% to €404m (£278m).

Bruno Lafont, chief executive officer, said: "This strong level of sales confirms the favorable trends for 2006 presented earlier this year. Our management team is focused on implementing our strategic plan, aimed at increasing the profitability of our future growth, streamlining our organization and reducing costs, in order to achieve the best performance levels in our industry, for the benefits of our shareholders."

Lafarge gave no information on profits or loss in this morning's figures.