Thursday 23 November 2017

Lafarge-Holcim appoint new CEO ahead of merger

Lafarge is set to merge with Holciem
Lafarge is set to merge with Holciem

Paul O'Donoghue

Lafarge and Holcim have appointed long-time Lafarge executive Eric Olsen as the chief executive of their combined company once their merger is complete the two groups said in a statement.

The post was a key sticking point as the French and Swiss cement makers sought to save their merger in March after the Swiss side sought to renegotiate the terms and remove the current CEO of Lafarge, Bruno Lafont, from the helm of the combined entity.

Shareholders of Holcim still need to ratify the merger at a vote in early May.

The 51-year old Eric Olsen now works as Lafarge's executive vice-president for operations, responsible for countries including France, the U.S., Brazil and Egypt.

The multi-billion-euro merger would create the world's biggest cement firm

The announcement  would appear to secure a €6.5bn asset sale to Ireland’s biggest company CRH, which was conditional on the merger going ahead.

Paris-headquartered Lafarge and Zurich-based Holcim announced their intention to merge last year. In order to secure approval of competition watchdogs, they have agreed to offload assets around the world.

CRH emerged as the successful bidder for those assets earlier this year. It would give the Irish company a wider footprint in some existing markets, and also entry to new markets such as the Philippines.

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