In response to moves by the Serbian government to privatize the country's cement industry, Holcim Ltd submitted an offer for the Novi Popovac plant on December 17, 2001. Serbia's privatization ministry has accepted Holcim's bid for 70 percent of the Novi Popovac share capital.
The Novi Popovac cement plant is located some 150 km south of the capital Belgrade and approximately 70 km north of Nis. The plant's two production lines have a combined annual cement capacity of 1 million tonnes. The first line came on stream in the seven-ties, and the second in the eighties. The plant has been operating at full capacity over the last two years. Using the energy-efficient dry process, Novi Popovac produces exclusive-ly for the domestic market (Central Serbia including Belgrade). Holcim will pay around CHF 85 million for this majority stake. Under the deal, Holcim will also make substantial investments in the course of the next five years and introduce a social support plan. The final contract signing is scheduled for the beginning of 2002.
The acquisition marks a significant addition to Holcim Group's network of plants in Southeast Europe, each of which ideally complements the others. Holcim's interests in the region includes cement plants in Kosovo, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Rumania.
With majority and minority interests in over 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.