Holcim closes deal for Serbian cement plant

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

By suntimesnews.com

JONA, Switzerland -- In response to moves to privatize Serbia's cement industry, Holcim Ltd. submitted an offer for a majority shareholding in the Novi Popovac plant in December 2001. Shortly before the end of the year, the Serbian privatization ministry accepted Holcim's bid.

(Editor's note: Holcim Ltd. is the parent company of Holcim USA, which is seeking regulatory approval for a large cement plant in northern Ste. Genevieve County.)

Novi Popovac held its first General Meeting on April 11, 2002, and shareholders voted in favor of transforming the former state-run company into a stock corporation. This paved the way for Holcim to acquire 70 percent of the share capital from the Republic of Serbia at a price of $52.5 million.

Before closing the transaction, Holcim successfully negotiated a debt-restructuring plan with Novi Popovac's principal creditors. The new company, Novi Popovac AG, only has debts of $7 million.

The Novi Popovac cement plant is located some 150 kilometers south of the capital Belgrade. The plant has an installed annual cement capacity of more than 1 million tons. Facilities are currently running at full capacity, and the company is operating at a profit.

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.

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