GENEVA -- Swiss cement group Holcim (IW 1000/198) and French rival Lafarge (IW 1000/220) are merging to create the world's biggest concrete group worth 40 billion euros, with an eye to booming construction in emerging markets, the companies said Monday.
The deal, a major event in the global construction industry described in a joint statement as "a merger of equals," will be based on the offer of one Holcim share for one Lafarge share.
The two groups together have a stock market value of 40 billion euros ($55 billion), Holcim chairman Rolf Soiron said.
The companies made a commitment to sell assets to pre-empt anti-trust objections from competition authorities.
Soiron said these disposals would account for annual sales of 5.0 billion euros, two thirds of which would occur in Europe.
The companies are aiming to complete the deal by the first quarter of 2015. Shares in the new company will be listed on stock exchanges in Paris and Zurich.
Founded in Switzerland in 1912, Holcim employs 71,000 people, with production sites in about 70 countries. It reported net sales of 19.7 billion Swiss francs (16.1 billion euros, $22.2 billion) in 2013.
Lafarge began as a French limestone-quarrying company in 1833, and now employs 65,000 people in 64 countries, with annual sales of 15.8 billion euros ($21.7 billion).
In Paris, Lafarge shares ended the day up 2.6% at 65.7 euros, while the CAC 40 ended down 1.1%. Holcim shares rose 1.6% to 81.50 francs while the broader Swiss SMI index gave up 1.2%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014