Lafarge-Holcim merger won’t affect Meldrum Bay quarry operations

FRANCE—While Lafarge and Swiss based Holcim Ltd. are getting close to a final merger, the deal is not expected to have much effect on operations in Canada and locally in Meldrum Bay.

“Basically there will probably not be much of a change, but a name change will take place,” stated Lafarge Union Steward Kevin Bailey in an interview with the Recorder last week. “Lafarge kept on all of its Canada holdings, with any splits to be in the US division; Holcim released all its assets and Lafarge Canada kept all its holding and will be run the same as it always has.”

“It is a merger,” said Mr. Bailey, “but, as I understand it there will be no changes to the Canada division, the last we were told, and we got this from the head people in the company.”

The Globe and Mail reported on December 15, 2014 that the Holcim Ltd. and Lafarge SA plan to create the world’s biggest cement maker has been approved by the European Union subject to the sale of overlapping operations in more than half a dozen countries.

The EU’s conditions represent a very slight change compared with sales offered by Holcim and Lafarge in October, adding only the divestment of a plant in Saint-Nazaire, France, the companies said in a statement.

The merger of the Swiss and French companies will combine cement and crushed-rock operations with $40 billion in annual revenue. To gain regulatory approval the cement makers needed to dispose of operations worth as much as $7 billion US ($8.7 billion), people familiar with the company’s plans have said.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement, “with the remedies, we have ensured that the creation of an increased global footprint of the group will not come at the expense of competition.”

The Globe reported the EU’s decision is conditional upon the divestments of Lafarge businesses in Germany, Romania and the UK and of Holcim units in France, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain and the Czech Republic, the regulator said. The deal can only go through after the EU approves the buyer or buyers for these assets.

Switzerland based Holcim and Paris-based Lafarge said in the statement that the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2015. They said they “continue to actively pursue negotiations for the sale of these assets with potential buyers.”

Holcim officials had indicated last month that they expect to get approval in all 20 jurisdictions required for the merger by the end of February. Bidders are completing due diligence and final bids will be handed in next month.