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lafarge     Lafarge Group on Tuesday said it had combined its Nigerian and South African businesses to create a new name, Lafarge Africa Plc. The company, in a statement made available to our correspondent, said it had concluded plans to transfer all its shares in its businesses in Nigeria and South Africa to the new entity. When finalised, it said the new entity would be strongly positioned to benefit from the growth and development opportunities in Nigeria and Southern Africa. The Chairman, Lafarge WAPCO, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, said the new entity would have a nationwide coverage in both countries, with the cement capacity of about 12 million tonnes. The strong operational track record and management skills within the combined businesses as well as continued support and expertise from Lafarge Group, Osunkeye stressed, would position Lafarge Africa to offer a full range of value added solutions to meet the customers’ needs. Lafarge Africa, owned 73 per cent by Lafarge Group, will remain listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, according to the chairman. He said, “I am proud to be part of the creation of this leading African building materials platform. It will provide access to growth in two of the largest economies on the continent. It will mean that our shareholders are invested in a larger and more geographically diverse business; and it will contribute significantly to the economic growth of both our nations.” In a similar vein, Lafarge Group EVP Operations/Country Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria, Guillaume Roux, said, “Today’s announcement marks a milestone. It adds momentum to our push for differentiation in order to deliver innovation that increases and improves our product portfolio. Our objective is to bring more housing and ever better solutions to contribute to building better cities that are more beautiful, more compact, more connected and more durable.” Under the proposed terms, the firm said it would transfer its direct and indirect shareholdings in Lafarge South Africa Holdings (Pty) Limited (100 per cent – representing 72.4 per cent of underlying companies in South Africa), United Cement Company of Nigeria Limited (35 per cent), Ashakacem Plc (58.61per cent) and Atlas Cement Company Limited (100 per cent) to Lafarge WAPCO. According to the statement, the transaction will be concluded through a cash consideration of $200m and the issuance of 1,402,575,984 Lafarge Africa shares to Lafarge Group. The company also said that the transaction was subject to Lafarge WAPCO shareholder approvals and obtaining required regulatory and other customary authorisations. The Group anticipates completion by the end of the second quarter of 2014; adding that the repositioning would lead to increased product range and services in order to answer the growing building materials demand in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria is a subsidiary of France-based Lafarge SA, with three plants in Ewekoro and Sagamu in Ogun State.  

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This article was first published on 5th June 2014

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