Lafarge has agreed the sale of its Australian gypsum operation to Knauf for €1200m. This business generated an EBITDA of €13m in 2010 and is the third plasterboard producer in Australia, with two plants. The two bigger producers are CSR, using the Gyproc name in Australia that elsewhere belongs to Saint Gobain, and Boral. The Australian government would not let two of the three domestic producers merge and the deal with Knaaf should allow Boral to acquire the remaining half of Lafarge’s gypsum interests in Asia.
Knauf, which is family-owned and based in Bavaria, is the second largest plasterboard producer in Europe, but its overseas interests have, to date, mainly been in insulation. The deal with Lafarge is expected to be completed in late summer or early autumn.