Holcim announces plan to merge its Australian interests, forming the country's largest cement group.

26 November 2002

Holcim Ltd intends to merge its Australian Group company Queensland Cement Ltd (QCL) with Australian Cement Holdings (ACH), a joint venture between CSR Ltd and Hanson PLC. The merger is conditional on regulatory approval and final due diligence and expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2003. With an annual production capacity of more than 3 million tonnes of cement, the merged company would become the largest cement group in Australia.

ACH and QCL have complementary positions in the Australian cement market. The QCL plant in Gladstone primarily supplies the Queensland and various export cement markets, while ACH focuses on the markets in New South Wales and Victoria. Together, the two companies serve a market representing 80 percent of the country's population.Holcim Ltd will inject all its Australian interest into the new venture, and will own 50 percent, with CSR and Hanson 25 percent each. The transaction is expected to be earnings neutral in the first year for Holcim, and earnings positive thereafter. CSR and Hanson are leading Australian construction materials producers with substantial interests in the field of aggregates and concrete.

With majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries on all continents, Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, as well as aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services.This media release is also available in German.

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