Holcim pulls out of Central America & Caribbean

By Chris Sleight31 July 2009

Following the expropriation of its Venezuelan businesses, Holcim is selling its operations in Central America and the Caribbean, because it says they are no longer viable. The buyer is its long-term joint venture partner, Colombian materials group Argos, which will pay US$ 157 million for the assets.

The divestments include a grinding plant in Panama, quarries, ready-mixed concrete plants and grinding plants in the Dominican Republic, cement import terminals in the Caribbean and a minority share in a grinding plant in Haiti. Holcim says that without cement production in Venezuela, it is now no longer economically viable to supply the various grinding plants with clinker.

August last year saw the Venezuelan Government forcibly nationalise its cement industry. Holcim, Cemex and Lafarge were all affected, and Holcim and Lafarge were successful in negotiating a compensation package with the government. However, in March, Holcim announced it was taking legal action against Venezuela, because it had not been paid any of the agreed US$ 522 million.

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