Holcim’s Fontana Sees More Swaps Than Sales in Cement Reshuffle
Holcim Ltd. (HOLN) Chief Executive Officer Bernard Fontana said swapping cement production facilities is more likely than outright purchases or sale of individual units, as rival including Lafarge SA (LG) put units up for disposal.
Swapping parts of a portfolio with another company would not be more difficult to implement than buying or selling individual units, Fontana told journalists at a meeting in Zurich today. Holcim’s CEO has said he is open to “selective divestments,” though he declined to comment specifically on Holcim’s mergers and acquisitions activity.
Lafarge, the largest producer in the world ahead of Holcim, plans to sell at least 1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) of assets this year, Chief Executive Officer Bruno Lafont said today. Cemex SAB de CV wants to sell $500 million of assets this year, up from $200 million in 2011. Holcim trailed Lafarge by 1 million metric tons in cement volumes sold last year.
Fontana, a French national and the first CEO recruited from outside Holcim, aims to increase return on invested capital to more than 8 percent after taxes from about 3.9 percent last year by cutting costs, improving customer relationships and potentially selling some assets.
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