Germany’s HeidelbergCement has received clearance from the European Commission for its planned acquisition of Italcementi which was announced last year.

The proposed divestment of operations in Belgium, primarily consisting of Italcementi’s Belgian subsidiary Compagnie des Ciments Belges SA (CCB), which HeidelbergCement said addressed competition concerns in Europe, was accepted by the European Commission. The decision of the US regulator FTC is still pending.

Dr Bernd Scheifele, chairman of the managing board of HeidelbergCement, said, “This decision is an important milestone on our way to the full acquisition of Italcementi.”

HeidelbergCement said the divestment process for the assets in Belgium had already started and “significant interest in the fully vertically integrated market positions in Belgium” had already been recorded.

The German company agreed last July to acquire a stake 45% in Italcementi from Italmobiliare.

HeidelbergCement’s plans to restructure the Italian operations of Italcementi include Italmobiliare, the holding company of the Pesenti family, owning a significant stake in the new entity.

According to HeidelbergCement, the restructuring plans’ aims are to preserve Italcementi's long-standing industrial tradition and history while streamlining some functions and activities.

The plans presented by Dr Scheifele are said to keep the industrial network and plants in Italy as well as the Italcementi brand, which it said was consistent with the group’s policy of preserving the specific local identity of its subsidiaries.

In addition, HeidelbergCement said it was building on Italian management heading the group’s operations in Italy. The R&D (research and development) capabilities will be strengthened with Italcementi’s i.Lab, based in Bergamo – where Italcementi will keep its Italian headquarters – becoming the home of the product R&D division of the whole group.

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