Leading calcium aluminates producer on the block

Leading calcium aluminates producer on the block
Published: 06 January 2006

Materis, the specialist construction products group created by Lafarge in 2001 to help finance the acquisition of Blue Circle industries, looks likely to change hands for the third time in the less than five years since its creation. The business, in which Lafarge currently has a seven per cent stake, still uses the Lafarge name for its calcium cement business, where it is the world leader and also makes concrete admixtures, mortars and paint.  Lafarge originally sold Materis for €890m to three venture capital groups, but retained a 33.34 per cent stake at the time.  When these sold control to LBO France in 2003 for around €1100m, Lafarge reduced its stake to the current level of seven per cent and collected €210m as a result. LBO France is now trying to sell the business, and an effort to dispose of it to Eurozeo, the French investment group that bought Terreal, Saint Gobain’s clay tile operations, in 2003, failed just before Christmas.  Another French investment group, Wendel Investissement, is now negotiating to buy Materis and is offering €1020m for 100 per cent of the equity, which with the debt in the business gives an enterprise value of around €2,000m and represents a prospective 2005 EBITDA multiple of 8.1 times.