Europe’s two largest cement companies Holcim and Lafarge have rescued a stumbling €41 billion ($43.82) merger by reconciling differences over financial terms and management that nearly caused the collapse of one of the biggest deals in recent years.
After several days of intense negotiations to salvage the proposition, a new arrangement was formed whereby Holcim will pay around 0.90 of its shares for each one in Lafarge.
What was initially agreed as a one-for-one share deal when it was announced last April will now be adjusted in favour of Holcim, after the Swiss company outperformed its French rival financially and saw the relative value of its shares enhanced by the strengthening of the Swiss franc.
Private talks to salvage the €41 billion merger became under the spotlight after Holcim said the deal to create the world’s biggest cement company could “not be pursued in its present form”.
Although internal management shifts were protested, large shareholders on both sides remained supportive of the deal, motivated in part by the large cost savings promised.