The parent company of Lehigh Cement in Upper Macungie Township closed a $16 billion acquisition Thursday – the biggest ever takeover in the building materials industry – that will broaden the company’s geographic reach and diversify its product line.
HeidelbergCement AG, a German cement maker and parent of Lehigh Cement, purchased Hanson PLC of the United Kingdom. The result is a powerhouse global company that owns cement plants, quarries and sells such cement products as ready-mixed concrete and concrete pipes to the construction industry.
Lehigh Cement, which has 13 cement plants in North America, employs about 180 people at its Upper Macungie headquarters, including accountants, engineers, technology workers and other office professionals, according to the company. It also has a cement plant in Fleetwood, Berks County. No immediate changes to its local employment are expected as a result of the acquisition, said Elizabeth Mikols, Lehigh Cement’s manager of public affairs.
"This is a big acquisition," Mikols said. "It’s not known at this time what the changes will be."
At least one change is known. Helmut Erhard, president of Lehigh Cement since 2000, will retire at the end of the year and be succeeded by Albert Scheuer, who previously worked in HeidelbergCement’s operations in China and is currently Lehigh Cement’s executive vice president.
Scheuer’s tasks will include incorporating Hanson PLC’s assets in the United States and Canada, which include rock and sand quarries in the Midwest, into Lehigh Cement, Mikols said.
Under Erhard’s tenure, Lehigh Cement’s annual revenues doubled to $3.1 billion, according to the company.
Annual sales for Lehigh Cement in North America are expected to reach $7.5 billion as a result of the Hanson acquisition, which will make Lehigh among the largest cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete companies in the United States and Canada.