LafargeHolcim to Sell More Chinese Assets as CEO Aims to Boost Margins

by swisscham in Engineering, Manufacturing

LafargeHolcim Ltd., the worldÕs largest cement maker, agreed to sell some plants to Huaxin Cement Co. for CHF 208 million (USD 215 million), the companyÕs second asset sale in China this week as Chief Executive Officer Eric Olsen cuts debt and tries to boost profitability. The transaction with Huaxin includes most of the non-listed Chinese cement assets held by LafargeHolcimÕs Lafarge China Cement Ltd. unit, the Jona, Switzerland-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Lafarge on Monday also agreed to sell a 56% stake in publicly traded Sichuan Shuangma Cement Co. to Tianjin Circle Enterprise for CHF 507 million. More than a year after the cement maker was forged from FranceÕs Lafarge and SwitzerlandÕs Holcim, Olsen is trying to deliver on profitability that was the underlying rationale for the merger after a global recession curbed demand for building materials. Delays in asset disposals and high-profile executive departures have eroded investor confidence at a time when competitors such as Heidelberg Cement AG are benefiting from improved demand in North America and Europe.

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