Lafarge Sees Bids for All Units on Sale in Holcim Merger

Lafarge SA Chief Executive Officer Bruno Lafont said some bidders may seek to snap up all assets that the French company and Swiss peer Holcim Ltd. are selling as the cement producers merge.

“There may be buyers that will make an offer for a large chunk, or for everything in Europe or for the whole set,” Lafont told reporters at company headquarters in Paris today. Lafarge and Holcim have had 100 expressions of interest for the units for sale and “will probably have a lot of firm bids.”

Both companies are about to submit their merger plan and proposed antitrust remedies to the European Union competition authority, the Lafarge CEO said. Talks are “constructive,” Lafont said, adding that he’s confident the combination will be completed as planned in the first half of next year.

Lafarge and Jona-based Holcim announced plans for divestments in July in an attempt to ward off regulatory obstacles to the creation of a global cement giant with about $40 billion in annual revenue. The disposals would be weighted toward Europe, reducing both companies’ presence in the slower-growing region.

South Africa’s antitrust regulator said yesterday that it approved the merger on condition that the combined company sell Holcim’s stake in local producer AfriSam South Africa (Pty) Ltd. business in three years.

The French cement maker has so far seen no effects of the Ebola virus outbreak on its business or employees, Lafont said as he presented the company’s plan to promote affordable housing in developing countries as well as in France.

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