Lafarge seeking to sell South African unit

Lafarge seeking to sell South African unit
Published: 22 December 2011

Lafarge is seeking a buyer for its cement operations in SA in a transaction that may be worth up to US$800m, according to media reports.

Potential bidders may include Indian industrial conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, the reports said.

Lafarge is the third largest producer in the South African market and has recently completed its 1Mta new line at the Lichtenburg works and a new grinding station in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg. It also has a small grinding plant at Richards Bay in Kwazulu Natal. It has a total capacity in South Africa of 3.5Mta.

Lafarge has been seeking to sell assets to help cut debt by about US$2.6bn this year. Ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s cut Lafarge’s credit rating to below investment grade earlier this year, citing poor US and European construction markets, and political turmoil in the Middle East.