Lafarge looks to sell Chilean unit

Lafarge looks to sell Chilean unit
Published: 16 July 2009

Lafarge is reportedly looking to sell its shares in its Chilean cement interest worth an estimated US$500m, reports the Santiago Times.
The Washington DC branch of Rothschild bank in the United States, assigned to the sale, will be accepting offers from all over the world. Lafarge bought the cement stocks in 2001.

Two months ago, Lafarge began probing Chilean and foreign markets for prospective buyers for 82.74 per cent of the cement plant.

Local funds and Chile’s Pension Fund (AFP) also have shares in the plant.

Their plan to sell the ex-Melon cement plant in Chile is part of a wider Lafarge plan to liquidate assets around the world. Lafarge has already sold its cement operations in Turkey and in Egypt.

“Lafarge has started evaluating alternatives to pay their debts, now that they are suffering some drops in their sales product because of the crisis, and are in a debt-pressed state,” said an industry expert. “They want to liquidate their stock, which is what is taking place in Chile.”

Although the cement plant is worth an estimated US$500m on the stock market, Lafarge is looking to secure a better deal.

In June, a group of Chilean investors was close to finalising an agreement. But their offer was ultimately deemed unsatisfactory and the sale fell through.

Other interested parties include Brazilian companies Vale and Votorantim, as well as Colombian cement producer Cementos Argos.

Lafarge Chile currently produces about 1.5Mta.

Source: Santiago Times