Lafarge, Holcim Notify EU Commission of Merger

Building materials groups Lafarge and Holcim have formally notified the European Commission of their merger plan to create the world’s biggest cement group, LafargeHolcim, reported Reuters. The all-share combination, which requires approval from regulators around the world, already has the green light from seven countries (Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya and Singapore), executives told reporters on a conference call.

In a joint statement, the companies said they had adjusted slightly their European disposals plan after “constructive pre-notification discussions” with the Commission. Compared with the list of assets presented on July 7, the pair now propose to retain Lafarge’s Mannersdorf plant in Austria and divest all of Holcim’s assets in Slovakia.

The companies stated they were in ongoing talks with buyers of assets and still plan to close the deal – announced in April – during the first half of 2015.

On a conference call with reporters, Lafarge CEO Bruno Lafont and Holcim CEO Bernard Fontana would not state the value of what was for sale or the prices being offered, but Lafont said the assets represented around 12 percent of combined annual sales. He also said the pair were talking to both financial and industrial buyers.

Several people familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier in October that Irish cement maker CRH had teamed up with Mexican rival Cemex to explore a bid for all the assets Lafarge and Holcim plan to sell. Germany’s HeidelbergCement and Brazilian firm Votorantim Cimentos SA are also considering a joint bid for the entire portfolio, according to the sources.

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