LafargeHolcim’s deal to sell Philippines business collapses

The logo of LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement maker, is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

LafargeHolcim’s deal to sell its Philippines business, valued at $2.15 billion, has failed after the country’s competition authority did not give approval in time.

The world’s biggest cement maker announced the sale of its entire 85.7% stake to industrial group San Miguel Corporation in May 2019 and was expected to complete the transaction by the end of 2019.

The deal, which included four cement plants and one grinding plant, was subject to approval from the Philippines Competition Authority (PCC).

“The PCC did not issue an approval of the transaction within the required time period and consequently the agreement lapsed,” LafargeHolcim said on Monday.

The collapse is a blow for LafargeHolcim, which was offloading assets to pay down debt and wanted to exit from what it has previously called the “hyper-competitive” South-East Asia market.

The Swiss company has also quit Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, where its businesses together with the Philippines operation were worth $4.9 billion.

LafargeHolcim also said three of its four plants in the Philippines that had been shut down due to the coronavirus crisis had now resumed operations.

The company did not say if it was seeking another buyer or hoping to resume the sale to San Miguel, which also has operations in food, beverages, packaging, fuel and power sectors.

Lafarge said in a statement it would focus on strengthening its operations in the Philippines.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.