Canada Pension Plan Among Bidders For $10 Billion of Cement Facilities

private equity investment

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has teamed up with Blackstone Group and Cinven to bid on $10 billion of cement assets that are being sold as a result of a pending merger between two major building material suppliers.

The CPP is one of 60 parties who have placed bids.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Private-equity firms are jostling to acquire more than $10 billion of cement facilities being sold as part of the merger of two large European companies, reflecting the dearth of buyout deals available in the region.

The sale of the cement assets in Europe, Canada, Brazil and the Philippines are a precondition to winning antitrust approval of a $50-billion merger between French cement giant Lafarge SA and Swiss rival Holcim Ltd.

The assets have attracted interest among cash-flush private-equity firms. Some 60 parties, a mixture of buyout firms and building-materials companies, have submitted bids for all or some of the assets, said Holcim finance chief Thomas Aebischer. Private-equity bidders include Blackstone Group, KKR & Co. and other top firms, according to people familiar with the matter.


The cement deals are “sort of classic private-equity assets,” said Josh Lerner, a professor at Harvard Business School, of the Holcim and Lafarge sales. “The idea of a transaction that has the classic PE kind of recipe, where this is a mature industry, is a good thing for them.”

The deal is also attractive because it could create an entirely new cement rival overnight. Some argue creating a new company with the assets could be a challenge for buyers, since the facilities are spread across the globe and aren’t independent companies at this stage.

The $10 billion price-tag on the for-sale assets is too big for many private-equity firms to digest on their own. Many are forming groups to bid for the assets, a practice they have moved away from in recent years since investors prefer to spread their money among several funds invested in different assets.

Among the private-equity bidders are: a group consisting of Blackstone Group, Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan; BC Partners and Advent International; Bain Capital and Onex Partners; and KKR., according to the people familiar with the matter. Industry bidders include Irish cement maker CRH PLC, according to people familiar with the matter. The structure of the consortia could still change, said one person familiar with the deal.

The Canada Pension Plan has $227 billion in assets, which are managed by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.


Photo by Parée via Flickr CC License

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