EU approves Lafarge-Holcim merger to form cement titan

GMT 20:03 2014 Monday ,15 December

Arab Today, arab today EU approves Lafarge-Holcim merger to form cement titan

French cement company Lafarge
Brussels - AFP

EU anti-trust regulators on Monday gave the green light for the merger of French giant Lafarge with Swiss rival Holcim to form the world's biggest cement group.
"Acquisition of Lafarge by Holcim is subject to conditions. The merger can proceed," competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Twitter, adding the move was "good for growth."
The European Commission said it allowed the merger to go ahead on condition that Lafarge divest from businesses in Germany, Romania and Britain and that Holcim sell its assets in operations in France, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain and the Czech Republic.
The commission said it had had concerns that the "transaction as originally notified, would have" hurt competition in many markets in Europe but that the two companies later addressed those concerns.
Holcim and Lafarge announced in April they were merging to create the world's biggest concrete group worth 40 billion euros, with an eye to booming construction in emerging markets.
The deal, a major event in the global construction industry, is based on the offer of one Holcim share for one Lafarge share.
The two groups together have a stock market value of 40 billion euros ($55 billion), Holcim chairman Rolf Soiron told a press conference at the time.
The new company will be called LafargeHolcim and "will have a unique position in 90 countries and will be evenly balanced between developing countries and countries with strong growth," the firms said in a joint statement.
They highlighted the match of their activities since Lafarge has a strong presence in Africa and Holcim in Latin America.
However they both have big and competing interests in Europe.
Figures showed that the new giant will employ 136,000 people, have annual sales of 32 billion euros and underlying profits of 6.5 billion euros.
The deal would generate economies of scale of 1.4 billion euros over three years.
LafargeHolcim will be in a powerful position as a supplier of cement for concrete, a key material in the construction of buildings and infrastructure.
Building supply companies have been expanding in emerging countries where they see huge opportunities for growth as they face sluggish conditions in the European construction industry.
The companies are aiming to complete the deal by the first quarter of 2015. Shares in the new firm will be listed on stock exchanges in Paris and Zurich.


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