Lafarge Shares Drop amid Holcim Deal Dispute

A merger deal between two of Europe’s biggest players in the construction industry has hit a snag as Holcim balks at deal terms

Shares in French cement group, Lafarge have fallen by around two percent following the news that two shareholders of its Swiss merger partner, Holcim appeared unhappy with revised deal terms that were designed to placate them.

Russian businessman Filaret Galchev, who owns a 10.8 percent stake in Holcim via Eurocement Holding AG, has rejected the new merger terms, which give Holcim shareholders a more favourable share exchange and which remove Lafarge boss Bruno Lafont from the role of CEO of the combined group.

Galchev, Holcim's second-largest shareholder, views the terms as "not satisfactory and half-baked", the Sonntagszeitung reported, citing an unnamed source described as a Galchev confidant.

Separately, Harris Associates said it was not prepared to back the deal until it knows who will take Lafont's place.

"Before we decide on the transaction we first want to know who will be put forward for this post," David Herro, chief investment officer for international equities at Harris, said in an interview with Swiss business newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft.

Harris owns 3.19 percent of Holcim's shares according to Thomson Reuters data.

Lafarge and Holcim are two of the biggest names in the European construction industry, leading the eyes of the sector towards the ongoing situation which is likely to have a large bearing not only on both companies’ share prices but also the future of the wider market.