Cement makers Holcim, Lafarge create Swiss merger

Updated: 04/07/2014 7:57 AM KSTP.com

(AP) GENEVA - GENEVA (AP) — Two of the world's largest global suppliers of cement, crushed stone, sand and gravel announced merger plans Monday that would create an industry giant with a combined 32 billion euros ($44 billion) in revenue.

Swiss-based Holcim and its French counterpart, Lafarge, said their "merger of equals" would be named LafargeHolcim, with its headquarters in Switzerland, and create the most advanced group in the building materials industry. Both companies already play a large role in construction in cities around the world.

The plan is for Holcim board member Wolfgang Reitzle to serve as chairman of the combined LafargeHolcim and Lafarge's chairman and chief executive Bruno Lafont to become its CEO, while seven people from each company will be represented on the board.

Reitzle, a German mechanical engineer, also has extensive experience in the automotive industry. Lafont, a French business executive, has been with Lafarge for more than 30 years and also is a special adviser to the mayor of Chongqing, a Chinese city of 32 million.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year, subject to regulatory approval.

Holcim, based near Zurich, employs 71,000 people and has production sites in around 70 countries. Lafarge, based in Paris, employs 65,000 people and operates in 64 countries. Their joint statement says that by combing forces they would "be uniquely positioned in 90 countries around the world with a balanced exposure to both developed and high-growth markets."

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)