HeidelbergCement Rises on Merckle Refinancing Talk

HeidelbergCement Rises on Merckle Refinancing Talk
Published: 01 June 2009

HeidelbergCement rose in Frankfurt trading on speculation that its majority owner is close to a refinancing agreement.

Heidelbergcement, owned by billionaire Ludwig Merckle, rose 5.8 per cent to EUR25.98 after gaining as much as 9.9 per cent earlier in the day. That gives the company a market value of EUR3.26bn (US$4.60bn).

The Merckle group is nearing an agreement with 61 banks on repayment of its 8.4 billion euros of debt, German weekly Manager Magazin reported today. Options include selling generic drug maker Ratiopharm GmbH as well as shares of HeidelbergCement and pharmaceuticals wholesaler Phoenix Pharmahandel AG by the end of January 2011, the magazine said.

“Investors are hoping for a quick solution of the situation,” said Jochen Schlachter, a credit analyst at UniCredit in Munich. “That’s moving both the prices of HeidelbergCement bonds and shares up today.”

Vivien Kremer, a spokesperson for Merckle’s VEM Vermoegensverwaltung GmbH, the Merckle’s holding company, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.