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The cement kiln preheater tower stands above other factory buildings at Holcim Ltd.'s cement plant in Dotternhausen, Germany, on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014.

(bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- LafargeHolcim Ltd.’s sale of its Indonesian unit has drawn interest from Asian billionaires and regional rivals including Japan’s Taiheiyo Cement Corp., people with knowledge of the matter said.

Malaysian tycoon Francis Yeoh’s YTL Corp. and PT Semen Indonesia, the country’s top cement maker, are among suitors weighing bids for the business, according to the people. HeidelbergCement AG’s local unit PT Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa is separately considering a first-round offer by the deadline later this month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

LafargeHolcim is seeking as much as $2 billion for the unit, which has also drawn interest from Indonesian billionaire Anthoni Salim’s conglomerate Salim Group, the people said. Deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty the suitors will decide to proceed with bids, they said.

Jona, Switzerland-based LafargeHolcim hopes to find a buyer for the business this year, one of the people said. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

While overcapacity and falling cement prices have dampened cement makers’ earnings in the country, Indonesian demand should grow in the second half of the year as President Joko Widodo pushes infrastructure spending before seeking re-election in 2019, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts said last month.

LafargeHolcim, the world’s biggest cement maker, announced plans to divest at least 2 billion Swiss francs ($2 billion) of assets next year as new Chief Executive Officer Jan Jenisch embarks on a five-year turnaround plan to increase sales and cash flow.

The company owns 80.6 percent of PT Holcim Indonesia, the locally-listed unit that houses its business in the country. Shares of Holcim Indonesia have declined 6 percent this year, compared with a 9 percent decline in the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index.

A representative for Taiheiyo said the company will consider deals as it pursues expansion in Asia Pacific, declining to comment on any specific targets. A representative for YTL didn’t immediately reply to emailed queries.

Semen Indonesia Corporate Secretary Agung Wiharto said there’s no formal information on the transaction and declined to comment further. Oey Marcos, a director at Indocement, said the situation is still being studied. An official at Salim Group didn’t comment.

(Updates with details of local unit in seventh paragraph.)

--With assistance from Takahiko Hyuga and Mara Bernath.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joyce Koh in Singapore at jkoh38@bloomberg.net;Fathiya Dahrul in Jakarta at fdahrul@bloomberg.net;Aaron Kirchfeld in London at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net;Elffie Chew in Kuala Lumpur at echew16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Scent at bscent@bloomberg.net, ;Daniel Hauck at dhauck1@bloomberg.net, ;Thomas Kutty Abraham at tabraham4@bloomberg.net, Yudith Ho

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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