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Cement giants Holcim and Lafarge in merger talks

$50bn merger would be Europe's biggest tie-up this year

NEWS, Business, Cement, Construction, Debt, Merger

The world’s largest cement makers, Lafarge and Holcim, said on Friday that they were in advanced discussions over a possible merger with a market value of more than $50bn.

“Lafarge and Holcim believe that, given the strong complementarity of their portfolio and the cultural proximity between the two companies, there is rationale in considering a potential merger that could deliver significant benefits to customers, employees and shareholders,” Lafarge and Holcim both said in a statement.

No agreement has yet been reached, both companies said.

According to Reuters, such a merger would be Europe’s biggest tie-up this year, based on the cost to acquire the target and assuming that Lafarge, with the smaller market value, is the target company.

A merger would help France's Lafarge and Switzerland's Holcim slash costs, trim debt and better cope with the soaring energy prices and weaker demand that have hurt the sector since the 2008 economic crises, Reuters said.

Lafarge, whose cement helped build the Suez Canal in the 1860s, employs 64,000 people in 62 countries. Holcim, which was founded in 1912, has about 71,000 employees in 70 countries.

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