Lafarge and Holcim boards meet separately to discuss merger

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Europe: The boards of Lafarge and Holcim met separately on 17 March 2015 to try and salvage their merger.

According to Reuters, one source said ahead of the Lafarge board meeting that Lafarge would not accept renegotiations on the governance of LafargeHolcim. The original merger agreement designated a board made up of seven members from each company and Lafarge boss Bruno Lafont as CEO. "The board cannot give satisfaction to Holcim on all points," the source said. "It cannot accept both a change of parity and a taking of control."

On 15 March 2015, Holcim said that it wanted to open talks on the exchange ratio and on 'governance issues' because the original merger terms were no longer acceptable to its board. Lafarge said on 16 March 2015 that it would consider revising the share exchange ratio, but nothing else. According to another source, Holcim has proposed changing the previously-agreed 1:1 exchange ratio to 0.875 Holcim shares for each Lafarge share, but Lafarge wants a 0.93:1 ratio.

One Holcim shareholder who opposes the deal reportedly said that the appointment of Lafarge's Lafont as head of LafargeHolcim has become a bone of contention, with some questioning his ability to deliver promised cost savings of Euro1.4bn/yr.
Ireland's CRH, which planned to buy a large portion of Lafarge and Holcim's assets to appease competition authorities, could experience collateral damage if the merger is cancelled. According to Reuters, if the merger fails, CRH is still liable for a break-up fee of Euro158m.

Last modified on 18 March 2015


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