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Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Holcim Ltd. and Lafarge SA, which are selling units to get approval for their $40 billion cement merger, nominated two managers that could head the divested plants in a move that may entice private-equity bidders.
Alain Bourguignon, Holcim’s regional head for the U.K. and North America, and Marc Soule, Lafarge’s senior vice president for performance management, will be seconded to the joint divestment committee set up by the two companies to advance the disposals, the cement makers said in a statement today.
Adding management skills will help potential buyout firms tackle a complex web of cement plants up for sale in markets spanning Europe to Brazil and the Philippines. Private equity bidders including CVC Capital Partners Ltd. are considering bids, people familiar with the matter said in June.
“The fact the potential CEO and CFO of a carved-out entity have been named I think has to increase the chances of larger block asset sales,” Ian Osburn, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, said by email. “PE and consortia of PE buyers are most interested in my view as well as some of the larger industrial groups.”
Starting in their new roles tomorrow, Bourguignon and Soule will present to potential buyers and prepare the divestments which could be sold as a single package worldwide or in Europe. Holcim and Lafarge are divesting cement and crushed rock plants with sales equal to at least 10 percent of their $40 billion in combined sales.
Holcim and Lafarge are discussing different options for divestments with regulatory authorities and potential buyers, Zurich-based Holcim said in the statement. Today’s announcement should not be taken as indicating that either Holcim or Lafarge would prefer one option over another, it said.
Planned sales are weighted toward Europe, cutting exposure of both companies to the slower-growing region. European plants earmarked for divestment include sites in Austria, France, Germany and Romania.
“PE buyers will be interested in the potential CEO and CFO and may also be interested in an industrial partner -- the sector is not awash with good managers and running these long- term assets well will be key to generating healthy returns for a purchaser,” Cantor’s Osburn said.
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