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Lafarge CEO Bruno Lafont bets big on India

LONDON: Lafarge plans to expand its India operations across the country despite an anticipated slowdown, the French major's chairman and CEO Bruno Lafont said.

He cited a new study that says India will become the world's third-largest construction market by 2025, to support his buoyancy. The study by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics expects India to add 11.5 million homes a year to become a $1-trillion, or about 59 lakh crore, a year market, even though it has cut India's short-term growth prospects.

"The attractive growth of the construction industry will be higher than the short term economic growth. India is one of our focus countries, as we want to expand our operations from the North East to the rest of the country," Lafont told ET.

Lafarge is present in 65 countries and Lafont says there is no easy country to work in. "The path that the Indian authorities is taking is working; we are happy in India," he says, but adds that Lafarge would like to see a "simplification of the framework of regulations so projects can move faster".

Lafarge, which has opened a laboratory in India to promote innovations that are close to the market, will focus on India's booming Tier 2 cities, Lafont says.