French materials group Lafarge posted a 17% rise in turnover to *14.5bn (£9.8bn) for the year to 31 December.

The company said highlights for the year included the buyout of its minority interests in Lafarge North America and the sale of the roofing business for £1.6bn.

Lafarge is predicting strong demand for cement, aggregates and concrete in the coming year, but expects energy and logistic costs to rise further.

A statement from the firm said: “2006 was a year of transformation for Lafarge, with the Lafarge North America minority buy-out, the Roofing divestment and the rapid roll-out of our strategic plan Excellence 2008.

“We saw a strong increase in our results, with positive trends in our markets, strong organic growth and tighter cost controls.”