Holcim to detail Mexican unit offer

Holcim to detail Mexican unit offer
Published: 11 March 2004

Holcim will detail the outcome of a US$750m takeover offer for Mexico’s Holcim Apasco on Monday, it said Wednesday, as a planned cash call to finance the deal continued to weigh on its shares.  The Swiss firm, the world’s second-largest cement company, aims to buy out other shareholders of its Mexican unit through a rights issue. The offer period ends on March 12.  "After we have taken note of the result, we will comment on the Apasco offer on Monday," a Holcim spokesman said, declining to comment on whether the firm would also detail the size and terms of the rights issue.

Concerns about the size of the cash call and the extent of is dilutary impact on earnings for existing shareholders has hurt shares in the maker of cement, aggregates and ready-mix concrete.  Finance chief Theophil Schlatter said on Tuesday at Holcim’s 2003 results news conference, the firm had opted to issue stock rather than take up debt to ensure that its strong credit ratings would not be cut.  Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein analysts said Holcim would probably raise some US$500m of "fire power for future acquisitions" after buying out Apasco minority shareholders, whose holdings amount to 31 percent.