Lafarge has denied a report in the Financial Times that it and joint-venture partner Anglo American are lining up asset disposals to pay down debt and avoid anti-competitive action as they seek to combine their UK cement and general construction businesses.
"The information in the Financial Times is a rumour, on which we do not wish to comment," Claire Mathieu, of group communications in Paris, said yesterday.
In February, Lafarge and Anglo American announced an agreement to combine their cement, aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, asphalt and contracting businesses in the UK, comprising Lafarge Cement UK, Lafarge Aggregates and Concrete UK, and Anglo’s Tarmac UK.
"Please refer to the press release sent on February 18 … ‘Completion of the transaction is conditional upon regulatory approvals. Both Lafarge UK and Tarmac UK operations will continue to operate independently until obtaining such approvals,’" Ms Mathieu said.
Earlier, an Anglo spokesman in London told Business Day that its Tarmac UK business had been identified as a non- core asset as far back as October 2009. "The joint venture is subject to regulatory approval and we are co-operating with the relevant authorities to achieve clearance as soon as practicable – we are unable to comment on the proposed joint venture, the time frames or expected regulatory process," the spokesman said.