Lafarge India sells assets to Nirma for $1.4 billion

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 11, 2016 22:56 IST
LafargeHolcim's CEO Eric Olsen gestures during an interview with Reuters in Zurich Switzerland. (Reuters file)

Swiss cement giant LafargeHolcim on Monday announced agreement for sale of its assets in Lafarge India to soaps and chemicals maker Nirma for $1.4 billion (about Rs 9,400 crore).

“LafargeHolcim announces it has entered into a letter of agreement with Nirma Ltd subject to approval by Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the divestment of its interest in Lafarge India for an enterprise value of approximately $1.4 billion,” it said in a statement.

Ahmedabad-based diversified group Nirma has presence in soaps, detergents, salt, soda ash, caustic soda, cement, packaging, etc. It has 12 manufacturing facilities in India and the US and has a turnover of over Rs 7,300 crore.

The agreement, part of the building material major’s 3.5 billion Swiss franc (about $3.6 billion) divestment plan, is key to get approval of the fair trade regulator CCI for the multi-billion dollar merger between Lafarge and Holcim that was announced last year.

“The proceeds from the divestment will be used to reduce debt further,” the world’s largest cement maker said.

Lafarge India operates three plants and two grinding stations with a total capacity of around 11 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). It also markets aggregates and manufacturers ready-mix concrete.

LafargeHolcim CEO Eric Olsen said: “This agreement is an important step in our 3.5 billion Swiss franc divestment programme. With this deal, two-thirds of the programme has been secured and the remainder of the program is well on track.

We are confident that we will meet our target by the end of this year. With the proposed buyer we have found the right partner who will be able to develop the business further in the interest of all our stakeholders.”

In February, LafargeHolcim said it has received a revised order from CCI for the divestment of its interest in Lafarge India, including three cement plants and two grinding stations with a total capacity of around 11 MTPA.

“The proposed transaction is an alternate remedy for the merger of the group’s legacy companies and now forms part of the company’s 3.5 billion Swiss franc divestment target in 2016,” it had said.

The Swiss giant, with presence in 90 countries, will continue to operate in India through its subsidiaries ACC and Ambuja Cements with a combined capacity of over 60 MTPA.

On the status of global divestment programme, it said LafargeHolcim has already completed the sale of business in South Korea and signed an agreement to divest its minority shareholding in Saudi Arabia.

The group has also expanded joint-venture with SNI, its historical partner in Morocco, by merging Lafarge Ciments Maroc and Holcim Maroc to create LafargeHolcim Maroc.

LafargeHolcim employs 1,15,000 employees globally and has an annual turnover of about $30 billion.

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