June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Lafarge SA and Holcim Ltd. hired banks to sell as much as 5 billion euros ($7 billion) in assets as they try to secure antitrust approval for their planned merger, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Switzerland’s Holcim has hired Credit Suisse Group AG and HSBC Holdings Plc, and Paris-based Lafarge is working with Morgan Stanley and BNP Paribas SA, said the people, asking not to be identified because the appointments are private. The sales process is likely to start in the fall, they said.
Holcim and Lafarge, which announced their plan to create a company with $40 billion in annual revenue in April, are working on a list of cement and building-aggregate plants to be sold in order to reach a goal of merging in the first half of next year. Europe is expected to account for the bulk of the divestments as the region will have the biggest overlap between the Swiss and French companies.
The companies and their advisers are looking at various scenarios to divest the assets. Those include bundling the plants for sale into the regional groups of Europe, North America, and Asia, they said. Another option, though less likely, would be placing the assets into a separate company to be sold to the public, they said.
Representatives for Holcim, Lafarge and HSBC declined to comment on the bank mandates. Spokesmen at BNP, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
Holcim and Lafarge agreed to form the world’s largest cement maker as they prepare to sell assets with 5 billion euros in revenue. The asset sales of the new company, to be called LafargeHolcim, will represent 800 million euros in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the companies have said.
Cement rivals and private-equity firms are expected to look at the assets. Companies include Eurocement Group, owned by Georgia-born Filaret Galchev and Holcim’s second-largest shareholder, Germany’s HeidelbergCement AG, Ireland’s CRH Plc and Cemex SAB, the biggest cement maker in the Americas, the people said.
Representatives for Eurocement, HeidelbergCement and CRH declined to comment and Cemex couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
Private-equity firms CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and KKR & Co. are also considering bids, people with knowledge of the matter said in June. The buyout firms may not satisfy European regulators’ demands of creating new competitors through the sale, one of the people said.
Any buyer that makes an offer deemed satisfactory to address European concerns would be the frontrunner in an auction, one of the people said. Some of the rival European cement makers like Heidelberg may face antitrust issues, the person said.
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