EU approves Aggregate buy-out

EU approves Aggregate buy-out
Published: 15 March 2005

The European Union Commission Monday approved Swiss construction material company Holcim Ltd.’s acquisition of U.K. rival supplier Aggregate Industries PLC.  Holcim is offering between GBP1.38 and GBP1.40 per Aggregate share, and 2 pence a share more if the offer is concluded without any conditions. This brings the total value of the U.K. company to around GPB1.8bn.  In a statement, the EU Commission said the deal "will not significantly impede effective competition."

The deal enables Holcim to enter the UK market, increase its aggregates reserves, and strengthen its position in the US, Holcim said.  In early March, the Swiss-based company said it had acquired, or received valid acceptances, of some 78.4 per cent of Aggregate’s shares, but decided to extend its offer to March 21 to meet its target of some 90 per cent.  The deal was approved by US regulators in February. 

Aggregate Industries supplies aggregates as well as asphalt and other construction and building materials. Based in the UK, it also has important operations in the US.  The companies initially filed their request for antitrust clearance under the EU’s simplified procedure, which clears mergers or acquisitions after one month if no objections are raised by third parties. But EU regulators changed the notification to a one-month antitrust procedure. The EU Commission declined to explain the reasons behind the change.