In a joint venture with Cementos del Caribe S.A. ("del Caribe"), a member of the Colombian Argos Group, "Holderbank" Financière Glaris Ltd. ("Holderbank") has signed an agreement to acquire Corporación INCEM S.A., Panama ("Incem").
Provided that Incem shareholders approve the plan, the Holderbank"/del Caribe joint venture will make a public bid to acquire a majority holding in Incem before the end of the year.
Listed on the Panama stock exchange, Incem is the holding company for a number of cement and concrete businesses.
Boasting 50 years in the cement production business, subsidiary Cementos Panama has an annual production capacity of around 0.8 million tonnes of cement.
Incem is highly vertically integrated, running several concrete mixing plants in Panama City and Colon, the country's two economic centres, plus concrete element manufacturing facilities.
Incem sold 0.45 million tonnes of cement in 1999 and posted a net profit of USD 9.5 million on total sales of USD 77 million.
In addition to rounding off the regional strategy that "Holderbank" has been systematically pursuing in Central America for many years, this entry into the Panamanian market strengthens the Group's longstanding collaboration with the Argos Group (joint ventures are already in place in the Dominican Republic and Haiti).
As a result of the Incem acquisition "Holderbank" is now present in the following Central American countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
By virtue of its leading market position, "Holderbank" is able to exploit the substantial networking potential that exists with the production centres in the region.
With majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries on all continents, "Holderbank" is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, as well as aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services.