Belfast Telegraph

Building supplier CRH seals biggest deal

By Paul O'Donoghue

Irish building materials giant CRH sealed Ireland's biggest ever deal after announcing yesterday that it had successfully acquired €6.5bn (£4.6bn) of assets from LafargeHolcim.

France's Lafarge and Holcim of Switzerland merged last month, however, it had to shed assets to satisfy market competition authorities.

CRH - the parent company of Northstone NI, which employs 1,000 people here - agreed a deal with them back in February which now makes the group the world's third-biggest building materials supplier.

It excludes some companies in the Philippines, although this element of the deal is expected to be completed in the coming months.

The acquired assets consist of more than 685 locations in 11 countries and adds an extra 15,000 staff to the company's payroll, bringing the firm's total headcount to 91,000.

The group funded the transaction with €2bn (£1.4bn) in cash, new debt and finances raised from a 9.99% equity placing.

CRH chief executive Albert Manifold said that the deal brings the company a step closer "to achieving our aim of becoming the world's leading building materials company".

He added: "The additional scale will help us to improve efficiency, speed up innovation and provide an even better service to our customers."

The deal came about after Lafarge and Holcim announced plans to merge, creating the world's biggest building materials business.

The merger was successfully completed last month, with the combined LafargeHolcim debuting on the Swiss and Paris stock exchanges with a market capitalisation of just under €40bn (£28m).

There were some doubts about the deal going ahead when Holcim grew dissatisfied with the leadership of former Lafarge boss Bruno Lafont, who was presented as the future CEO of the combined company. Long-time Lafarge executive Eric Olsen was eventually appointed instead.

Some analysts also raised concerns about the price that CRH paid out for the assets, although the Dublin-based company has always insisted that it paid a fair price.

Belfast Telegraph