Holcim has held a 20.3 percent participation in Cemento de El Salvador, S.A. de C.V. (CESSA) since 1998. CESSA is a leading cement manufacturer in Central America. In El Salvador, Holcim has presented a buyout offer to all shareholders. At the same time, Holcim has announced that it has received a firm commitment from several shareholder groups that it can acquire share packages totaling about 30 percent, thus securing a majority interest. This acquisition represents an investment of approximately USD 150 million. The remaining shareholders will now have the possibility to sell their shares under the same conditions, USD 7.35 per share, during the next three months.
CESSA owns two cement plants in the North East of El Salvador and seven distribution centers that serve all of the country's markets. Both plants have an installed annual cement production capacity of 1.8 million tonnes. In 2003, the company showed sales of USD 126.2 million and, thanks to efficient production equipment, an operating profit of USD 39.0 million. Cement consumption in El Salvador has doubled during the past 15 years and will amount to 1.4 million tonnes in 2004. Forecasts predict a continuous growth in cement consumption during the next years.
In increasing its participation in CESSA, Holcim is taking a further logical step toward strategically strengthening and enhancing the operating efficiency of its network of positions in Central America. The Group now owns three cement plants, two grinding stations, a terminal and has significant ready-mix concrete and aggregate operations in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador. Furthermore, Holcim holds substantial minority interests in cement producers in Honduras and Guatemala.
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Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries on all continents.
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