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San Miguel buys Holcim to boost cement portfolio

Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is boosting its cement portfolio with the acquisition of an 87.5-percent stake in Holcim Philippines Inc., the local unit of Swtizerland-based cement giant LafargeHolcim Ltd.

San Miguel said in a disclosure to the stock exchange Friday unit First Stronghold Cement Industries would acquire 5.53 billion common shares in HPI held by Holderfin B.V., Union Cement Holdings Corp. and Cemco Holdings, Inc., the major shareholders of LafargeHolcim.

San Miguel said HPI had an enterprise value of $2.15 billion.

“The acquisition of HPI will increase the foothold of the San Miguel Group in the cement business, and will provide the opportunity to implement its plan to expand its cement business nationwide,” the conglomerate said.

San Miguel through unit San Miguel Northern Cement is building a two-million-metric -ton cement plant in Pangasinan province.

San Miguel president Ramon Ang also owns Eagle Cement Corp., which operates a cement plant in Bulacan with total capacity of 7.1 million MT.

HPI currently operates four integrated cement plants and one grinding plant with a combined annual capacity of 10 million MT. It is embarking on a $300-million expansion plan to increase capacity by 30 percent to 13 million metric tons by 2020.

Analysts said the acquisition was a step in the right direction amid the aggressive spending on big-ticket infrastructure projects by the Duterte administration, including airports, tollroads and rail networks.

The conglomerate has several ongoing infrastructure projects, including South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4, Skyway Stage 3, MRT-7 and stage 2 of the Bulacan Bulk Water.

The Swiss challenge phase for the company’s proposed P700  billion New Manila International Airport project has also started.

Topics: San Miguel Corp. , Holcim Philippines Inc. , cement portfolio
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