India: LafargeHolcim merger could harm competition

India: LafargeHolcim merger could harm competition

The merger between Holcim (Switzerland) and Lafarge (France) is likely to hurt competition in the country, says the Indian Competition Commission (CCI), according to reports in the Indian media.

The CCI stated that it ''formed a prima facie opinion that the combination is likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition.''

The regulator has now directed both companies to publish details of the merger to the knowledge of the public and rival companies that may be affected or likely to be affected by such combination. The CCI has directed both companies to publish details of the merger in all Indian editions of four leading daily newspapers, including at least two business newspapers, and also host the same details on their respective websites. Comments or objections from the public are hoped for within 15 days of merger details being published.

In April this year, Holcim and Lafarge, two of the world's biggest cement companies, agreed to merge, creating the world's biggest cement maker, with a market cap of US$50bn and annual sales of nearly US$43bn. The merged company, to be called LafargeHolcim, will be based in Switzerland, listed in Zurich and Paris, have a workforce of 136,000 people and generate annual savings of more than 1.4bn (US$1.9bn) over three years.

The CCI had earlier said that it will look closely at the transaction since the merged company will be the largest cement producer in India after Aditya Birla group's UltraTech and could have a sway over pricing.
Aditya Birla Group is the largest cement maker in India with a capacity of 62Mta, followed by Holcim and Lafarge, who have a combined capacity of 57.5Mta.