Holcim merger gains US approval

Holcim and Lafarge will divest plants, terminals and an Iowa quarry to win US regulatory approval for a merger between the European cement makers that will form the industry’s biggest producer.

US regulators said the moves are needed to protect consumers from the deal, which will create a company valued at more than $46bn (€41bn).

US competition would have been substantially lessened in 12 markets, including Detroit, Boston and New Orleans, the US Federal Trade Commission said in a statement.

The agreement gives the agency the authority to appoint a monitor to oversee the sale of assets, which must be held separately pending final approval after a 30-day public comment period.

France’s Lafarge agreed to give up facilities in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Louisiana.

Holcim, based in Switzerland, has buyers for cement plants and terminals in Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan.

The company also agreed to sell plants and terminals in Canada, Montana, Michigan, Ohio and New York, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which worked closely with the Canadian Competition Bureau while investigating the proposed deal.

Holcim and Lafarge have said the combined LafargeHolcim will produce savings of €1.4bn a year, providing an advantage over competitors after a global recession eroded demand for building materials and forced some kilns to run at a loss.

Holcim’s second-biggest shareholder, Eurocement Holding, agreed last week to back the merger.


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