Lafarge-Holcim list asset sales for merger plan

Suzie Neuwirth
Lafarge and Holcim are looking to pre-empt the competition watchdogs (Source: AFP/Getty Images)
Lafarge and Holcim yesterday unveiled a bumper list of proposed asset disposals as part of their planned mega-merger, which the cement giants hope will satisfy anti-trust regulators worldwide.

France’s Lafarge and Swiss firm Holcim unveiled a share-for-share deal in April, which would create a self-proclaimed “merger of equals” with sales of €32bn (£26.5bn). The firms are looking to pre-empt the competition watchdogs by offering to sell assets in their biggest markets.

Lafarge’s joint venture with Anglo American in the UK, Lafarge Tarmac, is one of the proposed sales. The miner separately said that it planned to sell its stake in the venture to Lafarge for £885m, conditional on the merger.

Other items on the list include almost all of Holcim’s French assets and Lafarge’s in Germany.

Bernard Fontana, Holcim’s chief executive, said they had already received 50 expressions of interest for the assets worldwide.

But Dave Anderson, anti-trust partner in the Brussels office of Berwin Leighton Paisner, warned that the sales could run into challenges.

“Sales of the assets to competitors may raise their own antitrust issues, something that wouldn’t typically be expected from a financial or private equity buyer,” he told City A.M. “On the other hand, financial or private equity buyers could run into issues as potential purchasers. Regulators could question whether they have the expertise to operate the business as a competitive force against Holcim/Lafarge.”

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