Three groups seen competing for Holcim-Lafarge assets - sources

martes 16 de diciembre de 2014 12:36 GYT

By Arno Schuetze and Freya Berry

FRANKFURT/LONDON Dec 16 (Reuters) - The battle for the assets cement firms Lafarge and Holcim must sell to get the go-ahead for their merger will likely be between three groups, several people familiar with the matter said.

The three groups expected to hand in binding bids by a mid-January deadline are: Irish cement maker CRH ; Blackstone, Cinven and Canadian pension fund CPP; a team consisting of CVC and sovereign wealth funds the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Singapore's GIC.

France's Lafarge and Swiss peer Holcim promised to sell overlapping assets worth about 12 percent of their combined revenues to secure European Union antitrust approval for their merger earlier this week.

The assets are seen fetching about 6 billion euros ($7.5 bln), the sources said.

The firms hope their merger to create the world's biggest cement maker with $44 billion in annual sales will help them cut costs and cope better with overcapacity and weak demand.

Last month, Holcim said it had received more than 60 tentative bids from industry interests and private equity firms for the assets, which the cement makers had already flagged they would probably have to sell.

A large number of bidders, such as Italy's Italcementi or Turkey's Sabanci, are interested only in some of the assets, the sources said.

"The seller is likely to prefer a sale of the complete bundle to one buyer, as a divestment in pieces bears the risk of being left with unattractive, unsellable parts," one of the sources said.   Continuación...