Lafarge-Holcim merger to rattle the cement sector in Africa, Latin America

13 June 2014

The creation of Lafarge Africa, the clearance of the Cemex West acquisition by Holcim in Germany and the sale of Lafarge’s assets in Ecuador all hint at the scale of business that LafargeHolcim will command when it comes into existence. The implications in developing markets are worth exploring, especially in Latin American and Africa.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Lafarge is merging its cement companies in Nigeria and South Africa to create Lafarge Africa. That puts it head-to-head with Dangote’s plans to meet 40Mt/yr by the end of 2014. Following these would be PPC with its expansion plans around the continent.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic in Latin America the Lafarge-Holcim merger threatens Cemex. In terms of cement production capacity Cemex and Lafarge-Holcim will both have around 30Mt/yr, with Cemex just in front. The next biggest cement producers in Latin America will be Votorantim and Cementos Argos with about the same.

In both continents the merger has the opportunity to shake up and reinvigorate the cement markets as existing players suddenly discover serious new competition and react accordingly.

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