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European Commission clears Lafarge and Holcim merger

The European Commission has cleared the merger of Lafarge and Holcim subject to divestments across Europe, including the sale of most of the Lafarge Tarmac business in the UK.

The merged Holcim and Lafarge business will keep ownership of the Staffordshire cement plant owned previously by Lafarge Tarmac and Holcim’s UK business Aggregate Industries.

The decision to clear the Holcim and Lafarge merger is subject to a commitment from the parties that the UK Lafarge Tarmac business, except its Cauldon cement plant in Staffordshire, will be divested to a company not currently involved in cement production within the UK.

The mega merger has previously seen disposals proposed in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania and Serbia.

Lafarge Tarmac business’ sale will create the UK’s fifth independent cement producer, complying with the Competition Commission’s report.

The report, published in January 2014, detailed the investigation into aggregates, ready-mix concrete and cement.

It also reported that Lafarge Tarmac had to sell one of its cement plants in the UK to an independent cement producer to increase competition.

Lafarge Tarmac appealed the Competition Commission’s decision at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Proceedings were stayed from September 2014 until April 2015, pending developments in the EC investigation of the Holcim and Lafarge merger.

Since the CMA took over the case from the CC in April 2014, the CMA has provided its consent for Lafarge to transfer the Cauldon cement plant in Staffordshire to the merged entity.

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