Canadian Manufacturing

Holcim’s takeover of cement maker Lafarge granted conditional approval

The Competition Bureau requires several conditions be met to assure a competitive Canadian marketplace



OTTAWA—The federal Competition Bureau says it has given its approval, with conditions, to the takeover of Lafarge S.A. by Holcim Ltd. in a deal that will merge the world’s two largest cement companies.

The Competition Bureau said it had reached a consent agreement that will see Holcim sell all of its Canadian operations and all associated assets.

Under the agreement, Holcim will also sell one cement plant and five cement terminals in the United States.

“The sale of the U.S. cement plant is required to allow the Canadian assets to run effectively as a stand-alone business once they are no longer associated with other Holcim assets,” the bureau said in a statement.

The agreement requires Holcim to sell the assets to a single purchaser or in two packages to two purchasers.

The first package includes two cement terminals in Edmonton and Lethbridge, Alta., along with a cement plant in Three Forks, Mont., which the bureau said was essential to Holcim’s operations in Alberta.

The second package includes Holcim’s cement plants in Joliette, Que., and Mississauga, Ont., as well as many cement terminals, ready-mix concrete plants and other aggregates and construction facilities. It also includes five cement terminals in the northeastern United States.

Meanwhile, the bureau said the commissioner of competition “has the sole discretion to approve a buyer for the assets to be sold under the agreement and will only do so if he concludes that a buyer will provide effective competition in Canada.”

“This agreement addresses the likely substantial lessening or prevention of competition that would otherwise arise in Canada from the merger of Holcim and Lafarge,” it added.

The bureau said that because the deal is a global transaction—Lafarge is based in France, Holcim in Switzerland—it co-ordinated with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission.

Holcim currently employs about 2,600 people in Canada and manufactures cement, aggregates and ready-mix concrete and provides construction services, while Lafarge Canada is the largest producer of cement and concrete-related building materials in Canada.

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