CRH would prefer increased Uniland stake

CRH would prefer increased Uniland stake
Published: 25 April 2006

Irish building materials maker CRH PLC (CRH) is interested in increasing its stake in Spanish cement producer Uniland should the opportunity arise, a CRH spokesman said Monday.   In December, CRH bought a 26.3 per cent stake in Uniland for Euro 300m. "If the opportunity comes to invest, CRH will clearly be interested," a CRH spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.  "As investors in the business, CRH sees it as a business of value and, if the rest [of Uniland] were to come available, they’d certainly be interested in having a look at it," the spokesman said.  However, the spokesman refused to comment on whether CRH is in the process of making a bid for Uniland. "That’s not something we’d comment on," he said.  
 
 Some analysts value Uniland at EUR1.2bn based on CRH’s recent purchase, but other market observers have said Uniland shareholders see it valued closer to EUR1.5bn-plus.  Uniland wasn’t immediately available for comment.  
 
 Last February Uniland said CRH’s 26.3 per cent, Euro300m purchase was "unlawful" and presented a writ in the Barcelona Commercial Court to force CRH to relinquish more than a quarter of Uniland’s shares.  The statement issued on behalf of the board of Uniland said CRH contravened the pre-emption rights of the company and of its other shareholders, and damaged its independence.  The CRH spokesman said the case is due to be heard in Barcelona in September, but there will be preliminary hearings before that.