The Holcim Group, which focuses on building materials, is making one acquisition after another. They strengthen the company in two areas.
The cement group Holcim is on a buying spree. For example, it acquired the sand and aggregates quarries of Pioneer Landscape Centers in the U.S.
The deal covers 13 quarries in the Denver, Phoenix and Colorado Springs regions, Holcim announced today, Monday.
The acquisition complements the purchase of aggregates reserves in Greeley, Colorado, which Holcim had already acquired in December 2022, the communiqué added.
The transaction would leverage significant synergies and support the growth path in the region in the coming years.
Calcium carbonate in Italy
However, such tones sound familiar from Holcim, as research by muula.ch revealed. Holcim had namely strengthened only a few days ago with an additional purchase in Italy and acquired the Italian Nicem.
According to a statement by the Holcim Group, Nicem is a leading supplier of ground calcium carbonate based near Bergamo in northern Italy. Nicem’s customer base spans industries from construction to plastics, rubber and paints, it said.
Focus under the carpet
A few days before that, Holcim struck in France and acquired Chrono Chape, a specialist in mobile, self-adjusting screed bars used in the processing of concrete and cement.
Chrono Chape’s smoothing beams for liquid applications are used to level the subfloor so that carpet or slab flooring can be laid on top.
20 million in the U.K.
At the end of last year, Holcim was also busy buying companies. It had acquired Wiltshire Heavy Building Materials, a specialist in the recycling of building materials in the U.K.
Wiltshire is the leading U.K. company in recycling construction and demolition materials. It transforms them into green building materials, Holcim further announced. Wiltshire processes around 150,000 tonnes of construction and demolition materials a year and recently generated annual sales of over 20 million Swiss francs.
This had been the third acquisition of the week at the time. Holcim had previously announced the acquisition of Illinois Tool Works’ Polymers Sealants North America (PSNA) business and the completion of the takeover of Polish company Izolbet, announced in May.
It is evident that a certain process of concentration has begun in the regional, highly-fragmented market for building materials.
However, Holcim leaves no doubt that it intends to play an active role as an acquirer. Even small fry make a mess. If one looks at the individual transactions, the strategic orientation of the mergers and acquisitions also becomes clear.
On the one hand, the Zug-based Group, headed by CEO Jan Jenisch, makes acquisitions when it can improve its market position or expand parts of the value chain within the Group.
This is demonstrated by the transactions in the U.S. with the quarries and in France with the smoothing beams. Although Holcim already has a good market position in France through the merger with the French cement group Lafarge, the Group adds to its portfolio when it makes sense.
Environment in view
And on the other hand, Holcim buys when it fits in with its focus on being a more environmentally-friendly company. Certainly, cement production is not an environmentally friendly business. But Holcim wants to play a pioneering role in the industry.
The acquisitions in Italy and the U.K. fit the bill perfectly. For in Italy, Holcim bought a leading supplier of calcium carbonate, which is a versatile, low-carbon raw material. This allows the company to improve the ‘green recipe’ of Holcim’s sustainable construction solutions and open up a new source of alternative materials to decarbonize ready-mixed concrete.
The U.K. acquisition, Jenisch said, brings Holcim one step closer to its self-imposed target of recycling around 10 million tons of construction materials by 2025, which also benefits the environment.
Cleaning up the house
Expanding market positions and ecological footprint – these are the directions in which everything is going at Holcim at the moment.
At the same time, CEO Jenisch, who once came from the Sika Group, is also cleaning up within the Group. The dual listing on the Zurich and Paris stock exchanges has been abandoned in favor of the Swiss stock exchange SIX, as also reported by muula.ch.
The vexed issue of terror financing in Syria is also being cleared up – piece by piece. And also their Russian activities are almost history in the meantime due to the Ukraine war, as muula.ch also recently took up as a topic, because media spread false reports about it.