Hanson is back in the game

Hanson is back in the game
Published: 03 March 2006

Hanson has made a splash in the UK cement and aggregates sector with its purchase of Civil & Marine. The purchase made the company’s founder and chairman Mike Uren, some UK£245m richer. It was one of two acquisitions completed yesterday by Hanson, the world’s largest producer of aggregates, totalling UK£400m.

Civil & Marine is the UK’s largest producer of ground granulated blast furnace slag. Patrick O’Shea, the head of Hanson’s UK aggregates business, said: "This is a rare opportunity to add acquisition growth to our UK aggregates business. We have worked closely with Civil & Marine for a number of years and understand the increasingly valuable nature of its operations. This transaction provides us with an excellent balance in aggregates, cement-related products and ready-mixed concrete.’’

Hanson’s second acquisition was US aggregates company Material Service for US$300m reportedly making the UK group the US’s third-largest aggregates producer. Material Service sold more than 20Mt of stone, sand and gravel in 2005, earning sales revenue of approximately $160m. It also has about 1.5bn tons of aggregate reserves.

The purchases come just a week after Hanson beat City expectations with a full-year pre-tax profit 23.6 per cent higher at UK£429.3m, despite a 20 per cent jump in fuel and gas prices and similar hikes for cement, bitumen and steel.

Analysts said the news helped play down speculation that the company could become a takeover target after its peers RMC, Aggregate Industries and BPB were all bought by larger rivals in the past year (abstracted from the Daily Telegraph).