Swiss cement maker Holcim will buy the Australian operations of Mexico's Cemex in a bid to boost its position in the country.This content was published on June 15, 2009 - 09:18
The world number two in the cement sector announced on Monday it had agreed to a sale price of A$2.02 billion (SFr1.76 billion) in a deal funded entirely with equity.
"This important strategic acquisition enables the group to move into the aggregates and concrete business in an attractive mature market," said a Holcim statement.
The purchase includes all of Cemex Australia and a 25 per cent stake in Cement Australia. Holcim already has a 50 per cent shareholding in Cement Australia.
Holcim shares opened 6.5 per cent lower on the news in early morning trading on the Swiss Stock Exchange on Monday.
The group is calling an extraordinary general meeting in July to seek approval for a rights issue to raise around SFr2 billion ($1.86 billion) for the deal.
The financial crisis has dampened construction activity in many of Holcim's markets. Monday's announcement follows an 80 per cent drop in Holcim's first-quarter net profit for 2009 compared to the same period last year.
swissinfo.ch with agencies
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