PARIS La­fargeHol­cim agrees to sell In­dia op­er­a­tion

The Myanmar Times - - International / Business -

SWISS con­struc­tion giant La­fargeHol­cim, the world’s largest ce­ment maker, said yes­ter­day it had agreed to sell its In­dian op­er­a­tion to In­dian cos­met­ics and de­ter­gents man­u­fac­turer Nirma for US$1.4 bil­lion.

The op­er­a­tion, which re­mains sub­ject to clear­ance by In­dia’s Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion, would al­low La­fargeHol­cim “to con­tinue to re­duce group debt”, the firm said in a state­ment.

“This agree­ment is an im­por­tant step in our 3.5 bil­lion Swiss francs dis­in­vest­ment pro­gram,” chief ex­ec­u­tive Eric Holsen said. “With this deal, two-thirds of the pro­gram has been se­cured and the re­main­der of the pro­gram is well on track.”

Mr Holsen added that in Nirma “we have found the right part­ner who will be able to de­velop the busi­ness fur­ther in the in­ter­est of all our stake­hold­ers”.

The group, forged from last year’s merger of French group La­farge with Swiss coun­ter­part Hol­cim, has al­ready off­loaded its South Korean op­er­a­tions and signed an agree­ment to do the same with its Saudi Ara­bian in­ter­ests.

Un­veil­ing first-quar­ter re­sults down 22 per­cent in May, the Swiss group cited fall­ing prices in In­dia as a key con­cern, while shares have fallen by some 40pc on the year to date.

La­farge In­dia op­er­ates three ce­ment plants and two grind­ing sta­tions with a to­tal an­nual ca­pac­ity of around 11 mil­lion tonnes. It is one of In­dia’s lead­ing ready-mix con­crete man­u­fac­tur­ers.

La­fargeHol­cim said it would con­tinue to op­er­ate in In­dia through sub­sidiaries ACC Ltd and Am­buja Ce­ments Ltd with a com­bined ce­ment ca­pac­ity of more than 60 mil­lion tonnes. –

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