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LafargeHolcim to pull out of several countries: chairman

ZURICH, September 19, 2016

LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement group, is considering withdrawing from several markets as part of its efforts to make last year's mega-merger a success, chairman Beat Hess told weekly Sonntagszeitung.

"We will be present in less countries for sure," Hess was quoted as saying. The sale of operations in several countries was an option, he said.

The world's largest cement group, created by a merger between France's Lafarge and Switzerland's Holcim, generates 80 per cent of its operational earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortisation in 25 countries, the paper quoted Hess as saying.

He said there was "much potential for improvement" in another 25 countries.

"Either we succeed in strengthening these operations through targeted investments or we have to see whether other owners could do better," he noted.

For the remaining 40 countries the Switzerland-based firm operates in, the question was how to reach the target to earn its capital costs in the foreseeable future and "whether it would not be better to invest elsewhere the proceeds coming from a sale".

The company has already exceeded its 2016 goal of making divestments worth 3.5 billion francs ($3.57 billion) and said in August it had extended the programme to 5 billion francs ($5.09 billion) by the end of next year.

LafargeHolcim had last week announced plans to cut 250 jobs as part of a reorganisation of global functions at the cement and building supplies company.

In addition, the group will cut more jobs in its country organisations and could close more plants, the paper quoted the chairman as saying.

"In big markets, where both Lafarge and Holcim were present, we still have to adjust structures," the chairman said.

LafargeHolcim, which boasts 100,000 employees around the world, had a combined net sales of 29.5 billion Swiss francs ($30.33 billion) in 2015.-Reuters




Tags: merger | markets | job cuts | LafargeHolcim |

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