Lafarge and Anglo American to sell UK assets to Mittal

CEMENT maker Lafarge and mining company Anglo American agreed to sell UK assets for up to £285m, clearing the way for their building materials joint venture.

The sale, to Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, was a condition set by the Competition Commission to allow the two companies to combine their building materials activities in the country.

Lafarge and Anglo American said they would sell a number of construction materials operations in Britain as well as Anglo American unit Tarmac’s 50 per cent ownership interest in Midland Quarry Products, one of the UK’s main suppliers of hard rock and asphalts.

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The price for the assets, which include one of the UK’s largest cement plants, includes up to £30m contingent on future performance.

The deal includes a network of 172 ready mix concrete plants. Larfarge has a number of ready mix concrete plants in Yorkshire.

A Lafarge spokeswoman said the company would receive around 160 million euros from the sale of its British assets, which it would use to further cut its debt.

She added that with this transaction, Lafarge had now raised nearly 650 million euros in asset sales since the beginning of the year against a target of at least 1 billion euros this year.

The French company has been shedding non-core assets and refocusing on its key cement and concrete business after the debt it raked up to acquire Middle Eastern cement maker Orascom in 2007 led to the loss of its investment-grade credit rating last year.