Anhui Conch, Taiheiyo Cement among bidders for Holcim Philippines

Photo: Reuters

China’s Anhui Conch Cement Co. and Japan’s Taiheiyo Cement Corp. have been invited to the next round of bidding for LafargeHolcim Ltd.’s listed Philippines unit, people familiar with the matter said.

Philippine tycoon Ramon Ang’s Eagle Cement Corp. has also been selected for the next round, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Holcim Philippines Inc. has also attracted interest from China Resources Cement Holdings Ltd. and Hongshi Group Co., the people said.

Europe’s biggest cement maker is exploring the divestment as part of a broader strategic review of its Southeast Asia operations following the sale of its Indonesian business. Shares of Holcim Philippines have risen more than 50 percent since Bloomberg News reported the potential sale in January, giving the cement maker a $1.3 billion market value. The stock snapped a three-day losing streak and rose as much as 3.6 percent on Thursday morning.

Binding bids are expected in the second half of April, although the timing could change, the people said. LafargeHolcim may seek to value the Philippines business at around $2.5 billion, though some suitors have indicated they think it is worth less, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

Deliberations are still ongoing, and LafargeHolcim could still decide against pursuing a sale if it can’t reach an agreemeent on terms, the people said.

Ang, who is chairman of Eagle Cement, said he can’t comment. A spokesman for Taiheiyo Cement said the company will always consider deals as it pursues expansion in Asia Pacific, declining to comment on specific targets. Representatives of Anhui Conch, China Resources Cement and Hongshi Group didn’t respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for LafargeHolcim declined to comment.

LafargeHolcim Chief Executive Officer Jan Jenisch said weeks ago that he expects further asset sales in the coming months. Bloomberg News reported in February that the cement giant is weighing options for its operations in the Middle East and Africa.

The Swiss firm last month sold its Indonesian unit to PT Semen Indonesia for $1.75 billion including debt.

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Bloomberg