New shareholder for Secil?

New shareholder for Secil?
Published: 19 December 2003

First discussed at the recent Cemtech conference in Lisbon, but dismissed by Secil personnel as most unlikely, news that Semapa is looking for a new partner for its cement activities has again come to the surface.

First discussed at the recent Cemtech conference in Lisbon, but dismissed by Secil personnel as most unlikely, news that Semapa is looking for a new partner for its cement activities has again come to the surface. Having bought out the two minority shareholders in Secil earlier this year, Semapa is now reported to be looking for another partner for its cement operations, possibly to help finance the purchase of the FLS and Højgaard Holding stakes in March of 2003 and also to draw on the technical expertise of a larger cement business. 

Semapa is said to be offering a 41 per cent interest in Secil, compared with the 44.6 per cent previously held by the two Danish groups. Appearently, there is now a shortlist of three potential investors: CRH, Cementir and Votorantim.  Almost certainly, all three would be looking for a majority stake in due course and may well acquired the Semapa stake currently held by Cimpor in order to boost their chances to do this.  Secil controls three cement plants in Portugal with a combined capacity of 4.2Mt, including the only production facility for white cement in Portugal.  In addition, Secil owns the Gabès cement works in Tunisia, a small cement grinding operation in Angola and a 20 per cent stake in the Lebanese cement producer Ciments de Sibline.  In Portugal, Secil has a wide range of other building materials, including mortar, ready-mixed concrete, aggregates, pre-cat concrete and clay products, notably for roofing.  If these are to be included in an eventual deal, CRH would appear to be the most logical partner, as is has considerable expertise in all of these areas, which Cementir and Votorantim could not match.  Presently, CRH’s involvement in the Portuguese market is limited to a DIY joint venture that operates some 15 outlets.