The Scheifele interview
A series of major deals, culminating in the UK£8bn acquisition of Hanson (UK) in 2007, saw HeidelbergCement emerge as a global market leader in cement and aggregates. As with many companies in the sector, the financial crisis brought with it a series of challenges, resulting in the substantial restrucuturing of the company, transforming it from a largely private company, closely held within the Merckle empire, into a publically listed company listed on the DAX 30. Dr Bernd Scheifele, CEO, talks frankly about the company’s recent evolution as well as its strategy and performance in this wide-ranging and exclusive interview with ICR.
In the southwest of Germany, some 50 miles south of Frankfurt, lies the historic city of Heidelberg, picturesquely situated on the banks of the River Neckar. Best known for its famous university, the city is also home to the third-largest of the multinational cement producers, HeidelbergCement.
Established in 1873, and active only in Germany until the end of the 1960s, the company began its process of internationalisation with the purchase of a stake in Vicat and the acquisition of Lehigh Cement in the USA in 1977. The subsequent acquisitions of CBR (Belgium) and Scancem (Sweden) expanded HeidelbergCement’s reach beyond Europe and into Africa and Asia. The year 2001 marked its entry into Indonesia, followed by China, India, Russia and former Soviet Union countries.