HeidelbergCement intends to dispose of its 35.03% interest in Vicat during the second quarter of 2007, subject to stock market conditions. The Vicat family, which has a majority stake in the company, intends to increase its holding by buying up to a further 12% of the share capital. As a result, the free float in Vicat is set to increase from around 5% at present to approximately 28%. HeidelbergCement has held a minority interest in Vicat since 1968 and twice increased its stake, but has now decided to concentrate its investment in operations where it can gain full control. The proceeds of the sale will be used to finance the group’s expansion in growth markets such as Russia, China and parts of the former Soviet Empire.
Vicat increased its turnover in 2006 by 15.5% to EUR2,084m. Turnover in cement showed the biggest increase, by 22.7% to EUR868,8m, while concrete and aggregates advanced by 16.5% to EUR941.8m. The turnover from other activities, which are all in France and Switzerland, declined by 5.1% to EUR273.4m. As part of this concentration of its core activities, Vicat announced in March of this year that it has sold its building materials distribution business in France to Gédimat Gedex. The business sold covers eleven branches and has an annual turnover of some EUR34m.