Consolidation of market network in Central America and the Caribbean:

30 March 2000

"Holderbank" Financière Glaris Ltd. ("Holderbank") has acquired a 20 percent stake in Guatemala's cement producer Cementos Progreso S.A. via a share capital increase. By the end of 2000, the company's two plants will have a combined installed annual cement production capacity of 3 million tonnes. The modern San Miguel plant is 55 kilometers east of the capital Guatemala, and the La Pedrera facilities are in the immediate vicinity of the city. There is also a study under way for a new plant.


Through Group companies Cementos Caribe (Venezuela) and UMAR (Spain), "Holderbank" has also acquired from Devcon International (USA) 100 percent control of five cement import terminals on the US Virgin Islands St. Thomas and St. Croix, on St. Martin (Netherlands Antilles) and on Antigua and Dominica. Operating under the company name "Caricement", these new positions ideally round out the Group's presence in Caribbean markets while securing a sales volume of some 0.2 million tonnes per year.

Over the past few years, "Holderbank" has consistently increased its market presence in Central America and the Caribbean via majority and minority holdings. Now clearly positioned at the foreground of the market, the Group enjoys considerable potential for networking operations in the region. "Holderbank" Group companies Cementos Apasco (Mexico) and Cementos Caribe operate cement plants with an easy access of deep sea ports and have exported cement and clinker to the USA and neighboring countries in the Caribbean and Central America, for many years.

"Holderbank's" Central American activities span Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. In the Caribbean, the Group has holdings in cement grinding stations in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Excluding Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, "Holderbank" has stakes in ventures with an overall regional market volume of 11 million tonnes of cement.

With majority and minority interests in 70 countries on all continents, "Holderbank" is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, as well as aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services.

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