Lafarge, Holcim Confident Their Combination Will Survive Antitrust Probes From Investigators In Canada, UK, France

Lafarge Holcim merger
Holcim Chairman Rolf Soiron (R) listens to Lafarge CEO Bruno Lafont, who will become CEO of LafargeHolcim, during a news conference in Zurich April 7, 2014. Switzerland's Holcim unveiled an all-share deal to buy France's Lafarge on Monday to create the world's biggest cement maker with combined sales of 32 billion euros ($44 billion). The partners billed the deal as a merger of equals under which Lafarge shareholders will receive one Holcim share for every Lafarge share held, with the combined group to be based in Switzerland and listed in Zurich and Paris. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (SWITZERLAND - Tags: BUSINESS CONSTRUCTION SOCIETY)

Lafarge SA (LG:PA), and Holcim Ltd. (HOLN:VX), two of the world's largest cement-makers, are confident their proposed merger will survive antitrust scrutiny from the more than 15 regulatory agencies believed to be investigating the proposed combination.

Officials of the French and Swiss companies, to be known as LafargeHolcim, are fully aware that they will need to divest around $6.5 billion in combined assets, according to a UBS note released Friday. Indeed, they already received expressions of interest for various assets that will need to be divested to push their merger past antitrust regulators in the U.K., France and Canada. Those regulators will insist that any deal not result in a major consolidation and break fair competition rules in their markets.

LafargeHolcim executives said they are prepared to divest assets via individual sales, a package sale or initial public offerings. Details of what assets are available have not been made public yet.

It’s unlikely that the deal will receive regulatory approval or any assets will be off-loaded until at least September or October, while the deal may take up to two years to fully complete.

UBS upgraded shares of the two companies to Buy from Neutral.

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