Graymont, the Canadian lime business, has agreed to buy McDonalds Lime from Holcim New Zealand and New Zealand Steel for an undisclosed sum. An agreement has also been reached for Graymont to acquire Taylor's Lime assets from Holcim.
McDonalds Lime is 72 per cent owned by Holcim NZ, with the remainder owned by NZ Steel, and has the country’s largest lime quarry at Oparure, north of Te Kuiti.
Holcim has been trying to sell its lime business, which it no longer considers a core business, as it plans for imported cement to replace local production at Westport.
Graymont is North America's second largest supplier of lime and lime-based products, and has an investment in Grupo Calidra, Mexico's largest lime producer, it said. This is the Canadian company's first investment in the New Zealand market.
The McDonald's sale is subject to regulatory approvals and should be completed in 2015, Holcim and Graymont said.
Holcim plans to close its Westport cement plant in 2016 and is currently progressing towards a cement import model in New Zealand. The company is investing $100m in two import terminals in the country, one in Auckland and one in Timaru. Plans for a new cement manufacturing plant at Weston in North Otago remain on hold, but Holcim is keeping the assets so it has the option of 'eventually building a new cement plant.'