Friday 21 September 2018

US competition watchdog moves to approve CRH buy

Photo: PA
Photo: PA
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

CRH has received a regulatory nod for its $3.5bn (€3bn) acquisition of US cement maker Ash Grove.

CRH has to dispose of some assets, but buyers for those businesses have already been secured and approved by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC had alleged that the proposed acquisition of Kansas-based Ash Grove by CRH would harm competition for Portland cement in Montana, for sand and gravel in Omaha, Nebraska and part of Iowa; and for crushed limestone in part of Kansas.

In order to secure approval for the Ash Grove takeover, CRH agreed to sell a cement plant, two sand and gravel plants, one sand and gravel pit, three limestone quarries and two hot-mix asphalt plants.

The cement plant and one quarry is being acquired by Mexican group Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC).

All the other assets being sold are being bought by either Colorado-based Summit Materials or North Carolina-based Martin Marietta Materials.

CRH has also agreed to purchase cement produced at the plant in Montana for distribution in Canada for up to three years.

Because the CRH plant in Montana sells a significant amount of cement into Canada through two CRH terminals in Alberta, GCC will also have the option to use those terminals for three years.

The FTC said that the proposed divestiture agreement with CRH will be subject to public comment for 30 days until July 16, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final.

Irish Independent

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