In a report first mooted on CemNet back in January 2005, CRH, the Irish building materials company, has now just bought a 26.3 per cent stake in Spanish cement producer Corporacion Uniland for around Euro 300m. It said its own existing Spanish operation had a long business relationship with Uniland.
The investment in Corporacion Uniland further consolidates CRH’s position in Spain, where it has operated since 1987 under its wholly owned subsidiary Beton Catalan, a readymix concrete specialist.
Uniland Cement Group with its two cement plants close to Barcelona and good downstream integration in the domestic sector is well suited to CRH ambitions. Further cement production interests in Tunisia, plus useful joint venture cement production and building material sites in Argentina and Uruguay (with another Spanish independent Cementos Molins), add extra spice to Uniland’s portfolio of assets. Recently Uniland also acquired a small but expandable independent UK cement import operation in the UK which it also supplies with cement out of Spain, where one of its plants, the 1.2Mta Vallcarca works, is ideally sited on the coast to service its growing export trades.
In 2004, Uniland had sales of Euros 423m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of Euros 111m.
Cash rich Uniland has been keen to expand its own portfolio of cement and concrete operations in recent years, but has been unable to find suitable cement assets at the right price. Perhaps this corporate tie up with CRH, combined with the extra Euro 300m cash injection, will now provide for an extra level of confidence needed for Uniland to advance on the global cement stage.