THE CEO of the Irish Readymix plc Joe Doyleis parting company with the concrete group in a move some think will hasten an offer to buy out the minority shareholders (37.4pc). Cemex, the Mexican concrete group, owns 62.6 per cent and has been exercising greater control over group management of late. Roger Gonzalez arrived from Cemex in August when he took over as finance director, and has now been put in charge of an "interim management team", pending the appointment of a new managing director. Readymix has traded poorly over the past year, and it looks as though Mr Doyle may have paid the price for failing to keep costs more in check.
He joined Readymix as an executive director in 1999 from a competitor, Kilsaran Concrete, and succeeded John McNerney as managing director in January 2004. A brief statement to the Stock Exchange yesterday morning said that the managing director had "resigned by mutual agreement" with immediate effect (30 November).
Mr Gonzalez’s promotion will freshen speculation of a possible move by the Mexicans to buyout the minority shareholders. "I think it will be sooner than later - they won’t leave the status quo", suggested one close observer. Readymix issued a profit warning last December and followed up in February with a 46pc drop in 2004 EPS to 9.2c. The group’s problem is contracting margins, reflecting tough price competition in concrete markets in Ireland, which make it difficult for the company to recover higher input costs of cement, energy and aggregates.