Ludwig Merckle holds only 24.42% in German cement maker HeidelbergCement after he sold around half of his shares and a capital hike was carried out, the company said on Tuesday.
Previously Ludwig Merckle, the son of Adolf Merckle, owned 72% in HeildelbergCement. The billionaire Adolf Merckle killed himself in January after amassing a mountain of debts.
The proceeds from the sale totalling some EUR 1.65bn (US$ 2.413bn) may help Merckle cut his debts estimated at around EUR 8 billion so that he will have to sell fewer parts of his corporate empire than earlier thought. Merckle’s group includes among others generic drug maker Ratiopharm and pharmaceuticals wholesaler Phoenix.
HeidelbergCement itself has amassed more than EUR 11 billion in debts in the course of the acquisition of British rival Hanson. Merckle’s poor financial state has additionally burdened the cement maker.