On Monday morning, rock miner and cement mixer Lafarge North America
The "consensus" (I'll explain the quotation marks in a moment) estimates for Lafarge call for the company to report $1.49 billion in revenues, and $2.58 per diluted share in earnings. If achieved, those targets would equate to 19% year-over-year growth in both sales and profits. But the company will need every bit of the hypothesized profits this quarter, and an even greater pile of profits in Q4, if it's to hit consensus estimates of $4.85 for the year. Because in the first six months of this year, it's so far only managed to amass $0.60 worth of losses.
Although macroeconomic factors do seem to favor the company's chances of hitting its targets in this quarter and the next, there is still some room for doubt. Only four analysts follow the company, and according to Yahoo! Finance, only two have posited numbers for Lafarge for this quarter, so there's a fairly large margin for error to creep into those predictions.
Perhaps more significant is a recent statement put out by Lafarge's parent company, Lafarge SA
Such "weakness," if confirmed by Lafarge on Monday, would deal a blow to expectations established by the company in its July earnings report. Back then, the company predicted continued strong demand for its products in H2. While it named several possible challenges to its profitability, including high transportation and energy costs, weakness in demand was not even hinted at. If it materializes on Monday, investors could be very unpleasantly surprised indeed.
For more Foolish musings on the exciting world of cement production, read:
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Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article.