Germany/Italy: HeidelbergCement has released details on how it will integrate Italcementi into its business. Key details of the plan include the sale of Italcementi’s Belgium operations, the retention of the Italcementi brand and headquarters and the Italian cement producer’s i.Lab centre will assume research and development responsibilities for the entire group. However the acquisition is expected to result in up to 260 job losses at Italcementi’s base in Bergamo. The full integration plan is expected to be complete by 2020.
“Following our motto ‘all business is local’, it is important for us to preserve Italcementi's strengths and professional expertise, which have ensured its success in Italy and abroad. I am convinced that we will be able to achieve the planned Euro400m in synergies and bring Italcementi back to profits by operational improvements, streamlining the administration and leveraging the increased size of our combined business,” said Bernd Scheifele, chairman of the managing board of HeidelbergCement.
The acquisition still depends on approval from the European Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. On 1 April 2016, HeidelbergCement formally submitted the merger plan to the European Commission.
To this end, HeidelbergCement has decided to sell Italcementi’s entire Belgian operations, primarily consisting of Italcementi’s Belgian subsidiary Compagnie des Ciments Belges. The proposed divestment would remove all overlaps between the activities of HeidelbergCement and Italcementi in Belgium and the Netherlands. Preparations forthe divestment have already started and ‘significant’ interest has been noted. BNP Paribas will support the process.
The plan presented in Bergamo by Scheifele says it intends to keep the industrial network and plants in Italy as well as the Italcementi brand. In addition, HeidelbergCement builds on Italian management heading the Group's operations in Italy. i.Lab, based in Bergamo, where Italcementi will keep the headquarter of Italian country organisation, will become the home of the product research and development division of the whole group.
In order to streamline the overall group organisation some staff and administrative functions will be centralised in Heidelberg. According to the integration plan around 170 people will receive relocation offers to other offices within the group. Any redundancies in Bergamo, which could potentially affect between 230 and 260 people, will be handled using Italy's temporary layoff scheme. In addition, severence packages will be negotiated with the unions. At the end of the transition period in 2020, about 210 to 250 professionals will remain in Bergamo.
HeidelbergCement expects the closing of the acquisition of the 45% stake to be finalised in early July 2016 depending on the decision of the cartel authorities in Europe and the USA. Implementation of the integration plan will start after the closing.