Lagan Group weighs up English giant's offer to buy part of firm
Construction company Lagan Group, led by Kevin Lagan, has said it is considering an "unsolicited approach" for part of its business from Leicestershire-based Breedon Aggregates.
The confirmation came following a report in The Sunday Times that Breedon - the UK's largest independent construction materials firm - is in talks to acquire a "substantial part" of the Belfast-based company.
The pair already operate a successful joint venture in the asphalt business Whitemountain - and any takeover deal would run to several hundred million pounds.
Lagan Group is one of Northern Ireland's largest private companies, employing more than 1,000 people with an annual turnover of more than £350m.
A spokeswoman said: "The Lagan Group confirms that it has had an unsolicited approach for part of its business from a trade buyer which it is considering."
And Breedon released a statement yesterday confirming talks with Lagan are taking place.
"Breedon notes that it regularly engages with companies in its sector and it can confirm that it is in discussions with Lagan and its major shareholders in connection with a possible acquisition of a substantial part of the Lagan business," it said.
"There can be no certainty that the possible acquisition will proceed nor as to the terms of the possible acquisition. A further announcement will be made as appropriate."
Lagan operates two bitumen terminals at the Dublin and Belfast ports and has quarry and concrete businesses in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The firm also operates a house-building subsidiary and is involved in brick and block making, as well as making timber frames for housing projects.
Lagan has several operations in England and Wales, including Welsh Slate, which employs 200 people and has an annual turnover of over £20m.
Breedon operates the UK's largest cement plant, two cement import terminals, around 60 quarries, 30 asphalt plants, 200 ready-mixed concrete plants and three concrete products plants nationwide.
The company employs around 2,300 people and has more than 750 million tonnes of mineral reserves and resources.
In 2015, it completed its largest acquisition to date when it purchased Derbyshire-based Hope Cement for £336m.
The pair's joint venture in Whitemountain has been successful, with the firm winning a lucrative contract to supply and lay more than 500,000 tonnes of asphalt for a major Scottish road project in 2016.
Michael and Kevin Lagan took over the running of the business from their father, Peter Lagan, in the 1990s.
But a dispute between the brothers led to a de-merger of the group in 2004.
This led to Michael taking over the construction side of the business, while Kevin was left in charge of the firm's four other divisions, including its materials section.
Lagan Construction Group, which is separate from the rest of the business, is not thought to be part of the proposed deal with Breedon.