Sunday 4 December 2016

CRH wraps up €6.5bn Lafarge-Holcim deal

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 05/08/2015 | 02:30

A German factory worker uses a control panel to disperse premixed concrete, manufactured by Holcim. Photo: Bloomberg
A German factory worker uses a control panel to disperse premixed concrete, manufactured by Holcim. Photo: Bloomberg

CRH has finally sealed Ireland's biggest ever deal after announcing yesterday that it has successfully acquired €6.5bn of assets from Lafarge-Holcim.

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France's Lafarge and Holcim of Switzerland merged last month but had to shed assets to satisfy market competition authorities. CRH agreed a deal with them back in February which now makes the group the world's third-biggest building materials supplier.

It excludes some companies in the Philippines, although this element of the deal is expected to be completed in the coming months.

The acquired assets consist of more than 685 locations in 11 countries and adds an extra 15,000 staff to the company's payroll, bringing the firm's total headcount to 91,000.

The group funded the transaction with €2bn in cash, new debt and finances raised from a 9.99 per cent equity placing.

CRH ceo Albert Manifold said that the deal brings the company a step closer "to achieving our aim of becoming the world's leading building materials company".

He added: "The additional scale will help us to improve efficiency, speed up innovation and provide an even better service to our customers."

The deal came about after Lafarge and Holcim announced plans to merge, creating the world's biggest building materials business. The merger was successfully completed last month, with the combined LafargeHolcim debuting on the Swiss and Paris stock exchanges with a market capitalisation of just under €40bn.

There were some doubts about the deal going ahead when Holcim grew dissatisfied with the leadership of former Lafarge boss Bruno Lafont, who was presented as the future ceo of the combined company.

Long-time Lafarge executive Eric Olsen was eventually appointed instead.

Some analysts also raised concerns about the price that CRH paid out for the assets, although the Dublin-based company have always insistsed that it paid a fair price.

Irish Independent

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