Ottawa Competition Bureau to Review Lafarge, Holcim Merger

Ottawa’s Competition Bureau said July 7 that it will look into the $40-billion merger between Lafarge SA and Holcim Ltd., both of which have extensive operations in Canada, reports the Montreal Gazette. The newspaper quotes Competition Bureau spokeswoman Mélanie Beauchesne as stating in an email that “… the Bureau is currently reviewing Holcim’s proposed acquisition of Lafarge … (to) determine whether (it is) likely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.”

The Bureau must be given advanced notice of a merger if the assets in Canada generate more than $82 million in revenues and when the assets exceed $400 million.

Lafarge said in a statement that as part of a vast program of asset sales, the new entity would divest itself of the Holcim assets in Canada to address possible objections by regulators. Anglo American PLC will sell Lafarge its stake in a tarmac and aggregates venture for at least $1.5 billion as a prelude to Holcim and Lafarge divesting most of that business, the companies said in a statement.

Lafarge and Holcim plan to complete the merger in the first half of 2015, with Europe accounting for the bulk of the divestments. The companies are in preliminary discussions with EU authorities on filing for approval, a prerequisite for the plan to create LafargeHolcim, the world’s largest cement company. The two companies will make their official filing to regulators this summer.

Paris-based Lafarge has operations in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Western Canada, while Swiss-based Holcim has plants mostly in Quebec and Ontario.

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