HeidelbergCement’s chief executive expects to soon sell its clay and mortar unit Maxit, which generated just over EUR1.2bn (US$1.64bn) in revenue and an operating profit of EUR125m last year.
"We anticipate that we will seal a deal in the foreseeable future. This could already be the case in September," Bernd Scheifele told the Stuttgarter Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.
The world’s fourth largest cement maker aims to use proceeds from the disposal to help finance its UK£8bn acquisition of British aggregates specialist Hanson that marks the biggest takeover in the sector and will create the global number two in construction materials.
"The next one and a half years we will certainly be busy with the integration of Hanson. These measures should be concluded by the middle of next year – that goes most of all for North America and England," he said.
HeidelbergCement is repositioning itself away from end-customer businesses such as Maxit’s and towards a more upstream focus.
"In emerging markets we invest in cement production since demand will increase there enormously ... In the developed markets we want to concentrate most of all on sand and gravel. There these raw materials will be in short supply," Scheifele said, explaining the decision to strengthen its aggregates operations with the Hanson purchase.
The HeidelbergCement CEO also said the group would try to increase the amount of electricity it produces itself, since a sharp 30 per cent increase in power prices over the past two years has made energy its largest cost factor.