Lafarge, Holcim lay out asset sales, including Romania, for merger


Cement makers Lafarge and Holcim on Monday proposed a series of asset sales across Europe, including all of Holcim’s French activities and Lafarge’s German and Romanian ones, as they seek approval from regulators for their merger, rte.ie informs. The two companies need to shed around EUR 5 billion in assets to help persuade competition regulators to back the proposed merger which was unveiled in April and would create the world’s biggest cement maker with USD 44 billion in annual sales. Lafarge didn’t mention what exact assets are to be sold, if these are only the two cement plants that the group holds in Romania or if these include also the aggregates and concrete businesses as well.
Lafarge currently owns two cement factories in Romania, one in Medgidia, Constanta County, and one in Hoghiz, close to Brasov. The company also has a grinding station in Targu Jiu. According to capital.ro, after the merger, the two entities must sell globally factories that could be worth about EUR 7 billion. The companies said they would seek buyers for operations in Austria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Britain, Canada, the Philippines, Mauritius and Brazil, among others. The proposed divestments represent about 10 percent of Holcim and Lafarge’s global sales.
Holcim Chief Executive Bernard Fontana said the companies had already received about 50 expressions of interest from potential buyers and would soon begin negotiations. Competition regulators in some 15 countries, as well as the European Commission, are expected to take a hard look at the deal, which brings together the world’s top two cement makers with a combined stock market value of more than USD 55 billion. Europe’s top competition regulator, Joaquin Almunia, has said the merger would be subject to an in-depth review, known as a phase 2 examination.
Holcim CEO said the assets had been selected based on their geographical and industrial overlap and how swiftly they could be sold at a good price. Both Lafarge and Holcim have repeatedly said their merger, which would create a group with global headquarters in Zurich, would not entail any plant closures or industrial job cuts. In terms of capacity, the assets for sale represent about 27 million tonnes of cement, 79 million tonnes of aggregates and 10 million tonnes of ready-to-use concrete, Fontana said.

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