All eyes on Holcim meeting to see if shareholders approve Lafarge merger

CRH has been given go-ahead for €6.5bn acquisition of assets from Lafarge and Holcim

Tractors and excavators work in a stone quarry, operated by Holcim Ltd, in Oberdorf, Switzerland recently.  Holcim’s extraordinary general meeting is taking place on Friday to approve the merger with Lafarge. Photograph: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg

Tractors and excavators work in a stone quarry, operated by Holcim Ltd, in Oberdorf, Switzerland recently. Holcim’s extraordinary general meeting is taking place on Friday to approve the merger with Lafarge. Photograph: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg

 

All eyes will be on Holcim’s extraordinary general meeting, which is taking place this Friday, to approve the merger with Lafarge.

The proposed merger of the Swiss and French building materials giants Holcim and Lafarge still needs the approval of Holcim’s shareholders, and a two-thirds majority of Holcim’s shareholders will be required on the day to effectively approve the merger.

While the $44 billion merger deal nearly collapsed in March due a disagreement over who would lead the new combined group, it has since been agreed that Lafarge executive vice-president Eric Olsen will become the new CEO.

Last month, Eurocement Holding, which holds a 10.8 per cent stake in Holcim, said it would nominate its owner Filaret Galchev for a position on the board of the combined group.

However, Holcim rejected Eurocement’s proposal to elect Galchev to the board of directors of Lafarge-Holcim, saying it received the proposal too late. “This proposal came too late to be considered by the board of directors of Holcim for inclusion into the agenda of the extraordinary general meeting on May 8th, 2015,” Holcim said.

CRH, which has been given the go-ahead by the European Commission for its €6.5 billion acquisition of assets from Lafarge and Holcim, has a trading update out this week. Lafarge and Holcim are disposing of some businesses to clear regulatory hurdles for their merger.

The Irish building materials giant is holding an annual general meeting in Dublin on Thursday.

Last week CRH announced that current finance officer Maeve Carton would assume a new role of group transformation director from January next. “The announcement of such a new role in our view highlights the increased emphasis that is being placed on capital optimisation across the group, which underpins returns getting back to peak levels,” Goodbody stockbrokers said in a note.