CRH Buys Holcim, Lafarge Assets

Holcim Ltd. and Lafarge SA moved a step closer to completing their $40 billion merger when Irish building-materials company CRH Plc agreed to pay 6.5 billion euros ($7.36 billion) for surplus assets.

In a joint statement, Holcim and Lafarge said they entered a binding agreement with CRH to sell 24 cement factories and other facilities as part of a selloff required to get approval from antitrust authorities in Europe and elsewhere. The deal includes most of Holcim’s assets in France and Lafarge Tarrmac sites in the U.K. as well as operations in Canada, Brazil and the Philippines. CRH said the deal would make it the third-largest building materials company.

The sale of the cement assets is a precondition of winning antitrust approval for the merger. Approvals have now been achieved in 12 of 20 jurisdictions needed for the deal to go ahead, the companies said, including the European Union, subject to asset disposals. Approval is still needed in the U.S., India and Canada.

Holcim and Lafarge might sell more assets, but the “vast majority of what we need to divest is now in this project with CRH,” said Lafarge CEO Bernard Lafont, who is due to take over as head of the combined company, LafargeHolcim.

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