Holcim still trying to cement deal

Holcim still trying to cement deal
Published: 30 October 2006

Talks are still continuing between global cement producer Holcim Switzerland and Aveng, South Africa’s biggest construction and engineering firm, over Holcim’s plans to sell 85 per cent of its 54 per cent interest in its local cement operations to a black economic empowerment (BEE) consortium for R6.82bn.

Aveng is a 46 per cent owner of Holcim South Africa.

Richard Savage, Aveng’s chairman, told the company’s general meeting on Friday that both Aveng and Holcim remained committed to transformation and to the implementation of a sustainable BEE transaction in Holcim SA.

He said the talks were aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable outcome for Aveng, Holcim and the potential new stakeholder in Holcim SA.

In terms of the proposed transaction announced in August this year, newly founded entity AfriSam Consortium - headed by Eltie Links, the former trade negotiator and South African ambassador to the EU - will acquire a 76.5 per cent stake in AfriSam, which will own 54 percent of Holcim SA.
 
Holcim will retain a 15 per cent share in AfriSam, while Aveng has been given the opportunity to obtain an 8.5 per cent stake in AfriSam.

The proposed transaction has cast Aveng as the possible deal-breaker because of its pre-emptive right to first option to acquire any shareholding that Holcim may decide to dispose of in Holcim SA.

Carl Grim, Aveng’s chief executive, admitted when the proposed transaction was announced that if Aveng exercised its pre-emptive rights in terms of its agreement with Holcim, this would clearly affect the shares Holcim intended selling to its BEE partner.