Holcim/Lafarge merger: Competition Bureau accepts the sale of all of Holcim’s operations in Canada

May 4, 2015 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

To preserve competition for the supply of cement and related products in Canada, the Competition Bureau has reached a consent agreement with building and construction materials maker Holcim Ltd that will see it sell all of its Canadian operations and all associated assets as part of its proposed acquisition of Lafarge S.A.

Under the agreement, Holcim will also sell one cement plant and five cement terminals in the United States. The sale of the U.S. cement plant is required to allow the Canadian assets to run effectively as a stand‑alone business once they are no longer associated with other Holcim assets.

The agreement requires Holcim to sell the assets to a single purchaser or in two packages to two purchasers:

  • The first package includes two cement terminals located in Lethbridge and Edmonton (AB), along with a cement plant located in Three Forks, Montana (U.S.) determined by the Bureau to be essential to Holcim's operations in Alberta.
  • The second package includes Holcim's cement plants located in Joliette (QC) and Mississauga (ON), as well as many cement terminals, ready‑mix concrete plants and other aggregates and construction facilities. It also includes five cement terminals in the northeastern United States.

As the parties decided upfront to sell all of Holcim's Canadian operations to address competition concerns in Canada, the Bureau's review was focussed on determining whether assets located outside of the country were important to the effectiveness of Holcim's Canadian business.

The Commissioner has the sole discretion to approve a buyer for the assets to be sold under the agreement and will only do so if he concludes that a buyer will provide effective competition in Canada.

In this global transaction, the Bureau coordinated with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (U.S. FTC) and the European Commission to align its merger review process. In addition, as some assets being sold serve both U.S. and Canadian markets, the Bureau worked very closely with the U.S. FTC throughout its review in order to achieve an effective remedy in both jurisdictions. The Bureau's long standing relationship with the U.S. FTC led to an efficient and coordinated review of this matter, consistent with the agencies' agreement on Best Practices on Cooperation in Cross‑Border Merger Investigations.

Quick facts

  • This agreement addresses the likely substantial lessening or prevention of competition that would otherwise arise in Canada from the merger of Holcim and Lafarge.
  • Holcim has included in the agreement five cement terminals located in the U.S., which it believes will enhance the attractiveness of the package.
  • In Canada, Holcim currently employs about 2,600 people and manufactures cement, aggregates and ready‑mix concrete and provides construction services.

Quote

"This merger review demonstrates how the Bureau and its international counterparts can work together to ensure an effective remedy in each jurisdiction and strengthen competition law enforcement partnerships. I commend the parties for the level of cooperation they provided to the Bureau throughout our review of the proposed transaction and for reaching this agreement, which will preserve competition in the supply of cement and related products throughout Canada to the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses."
John Pecman,
Commissioner of Competition

Related information

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