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Cement giant LafargeHolcim completes mega-merger

Holcim CEO Fontana is no longer at the helm

(Keystone)

Swiss cement giant Holcim took on a new chief executive, two co-chairmen and a different brand name on Friday after finalising its merger with French industrial group Lafarge.

LafargeHolcim, the largest cement producer in the world with a market value of more than $46 billion (CHF43.5 billion), came into existence after completing its the public exchange offer and the issuance of new shares to Lafarge shareholders. Shares of the new group will start trading in Zurich and Paris on July 14.

Holcim chief executive Bernard Fontana has, as previously announced, stepped down to be replaced by Eric Olsen. Former Lafarge chief executive Bruno Lafont has teamed up with Wolfgang Reitzle as co-chairman of the combined entity.

“Today’s closing is a historic event – not only for our two founding companies but also for the industry as a whole,” Reitzle said in a statement issued on Friday.

The mega-merger, first made public in 2012, nearly came unstuck earlier this year thanks to the strengthening franc and superior performance of Holcim the previous year.

But the deal was put back on track after some of the original proposed terms were revised. This included revaluing shares from equal weight for both companies to a new ratio of 10 Lafarge shares for every nine of Holcim.

Other concessions that Lafarge had to make were the appointment of a neutral CEO instead of Lafont and the new entity being headquartered in Zurich. The deal was rubber stamped at a Holcim shareholders’ meeting on May 8.

The combined group has combined net sales of CHF33 billion (2014) and 115,000 employees in 90 countries.

Those Lafarge shareholders who have not yet tendered their shares will have another opportunity during a window lasting between July 15 and July 28.

swissinfo.ch

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