Belfast Telegraph

Lagan Homes retained as talks advance on deal to sell majority of group

By Margaret Canning

A sale of most of the assets of Northern Ireland construction giant Lagan Group will be finalised over the next few weeks, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Kevin Lagan, the head of Lagan Group, is to sell business interests including cement, asphalt and road-building divisions to English construction firm Breedon Aggregates.

However, he will retain the group's house building division - Lagan Homes.

Details of the planned sale first emerged in February.

No-one from Lagan Group was available for comment yesterday, but it's expected that the deal will be finalised in the coming weeks.

The sale is the latest development in the story of the Lagan family businesses. Kevin and his brother Michael inherited the business after it was built up by their father Peter.

However, the brothers separated the majority of their business interests in 2004.

Meanwhile, Michael Lagan has started a fresh action against Lagan Holdings, which used to count Kevin Lagan among its directors.

Lagan Homes is one of Northern Ireland's biggest housebuilders. Last month, the company's FastHouse division announced it had won a deal to build 470 lodges on the site of the new Center Parcs in Co Longford. FastHouse was awarded the deal by Ireland's largest building company, John Sisk & Son.

In Feburary, Lagan Group said it was considering the "unsolicited approach" for part of its business from Leicestershire-based Breedon Aggregates.

Breedon is the UK's largest independent construction materials firm. The pair already operate a successful joint venture in the asphalt business - Whitemountain - and it's expected that 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.

In February, 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 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.

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 is also 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.

Belfast Telegraph

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