Votorantim seeks cement acquisitions outside Brazil

Votorantim seeks cement acquisitions outside Brazil
Published: 17 September 2009

Votorantim Cimentos Ltda., which controls 40 percent of Brazil’s cement market, is seeking international acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer Walter Schalka said.

“We’re looking for broader geographical diversification,” Schalka said today in an interview in Sao Paulo.

The cement unit of Brazil’s Grupo Votorantim, controlled by the Ermirio de Moraes family, last year paid $130 million for a 15 percent stake in Cementos Bio Bio SA in Chile. Votorantim Cimentos has a 30 percent market share in the Great Lakes region in the U.S. and 15 percent in Florida.

Votorantim would join building-materials companies such as Holcim Ltd. and Fewer assets than anticipated may be up for sale, said Imran Akram, a Collins Stewart Plc analyst in London.

“With the financial crisis easing, the pressure to sell has also eased significantly, and therefore we won’t see very many quality assets coming onto the market,” Akram said in a telephone interview.

Votorantim Cimentos, based in Sao Paulo, also is increasing domestic investment, betting that a government program for low- income housing will drive cement demand, Schalka said. Investment this year will total BRL700m (US$388m), Schalka said. The company has annual revenue of BRL7bn (US$3.89bn) in Brazil and US$1.2bn in the US, he said.