CRH Plc is among suitors for certain assets Holcim Ltd. and Lafarge SA have bundled for sale, thereby advancing a merger the producers hope to complete by mid-year. Assets on the table include Holcim Canada Inc. and a host of overseas cement, concrete and aggregate businesses.
Consistent with recent press speculation, Ireland-based building materials group CRH confirms in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing “discussions with Lafarge and Holcim regarding potential acquisition of certain assets … While there can be no certainty that these discussions will result in a transaction, if an acquisition was to proceed, it is likely that it would be funded through a combination of existing cash balances, debt and an equity placing. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”
The European Commission announced late last year approval of the proposed merger, stipulating divestment of Lafarge businesses in Germany, Romania and the United Kingdom, and Holcim operations in Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Slovakia and Spain. Remaining countries where Lafarge and Holcim have listed assets for disposal –and regulator approval appears pending – are Brazil, Canada, Mauritius and the Philippines.
Upon their initial merger announcement in April 2014, Lafarge and Holcim indicated divestments would involve assets representing up to $7 billion in sales. The merger calls for a 1:1 share exchange and a management team comprising equal representation from both companies. As the world’s largest heavy building materials operator, LafargeHolcim would have operations in 90 countries, annual sales exceeding $40 billion; 470 million and 384 million tons of cement and aggregate shipments, respectively; plus, 90 million yd. of ready mixed production.