US: HeidelbergCement moves closer to acquiring Essroc

US: HeidelbergCement moves closer to acquiring Essroc

HeidelbergCement AG and its Italian rival Italcementi SpA, the owner of Nazaerth-area Essroc operations have agreed to divest certain assets to settle the Federal Trade Commission's charge that the proposed US$4.2bn merger would likely harm US competition.

The deal is not expected to affect area cement-making operations, officials from both companies said to The Morning Call on Tuesday. HeidelbergCement owns Lehigh Hanson Inc, which is based in Irving, Texas, while Italcementi owns Essroc Cement Corp, which is headquartered in Upper Nazareth Township.

The two companies reached a proposed agreement with the Federal Trade Commission in mid-June in which the companies agreed to divest an Italcementi cement plant in Martinsburg, W.Va, and up to 11 distribution terminals in six other states. The agreement settled and FTC charge that their proposed would likely stifle US competitors, the FTC said.

Germany's HeidelbergCement said in June that the FTC ruling allows the merger to proceed on schedule. Besides regulatory approvals in the US and Europe, HeidelbergCement said it plans to acquire a 45 per cent controlling stake of Italmobiliare SpA, an Italian investment company whose holdings include Essroc. HeidelbergCement is expected to propose a public mandatory offer to remaining shareholders to acquire their shares in return for cash.

HeidelbergCement expects the entire transaction, which was first announced 28 July 2015, should be completed in the second half of 2016. The company previously said that buying Italcementi will add "a valuable portfolio of assets with a perfect geographical fit" to its existing activities.