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HeidelbergCement announce integration plan for Italcementi

Dr Bernd Scheifele

German cement giant provides details of project to restructure and streamline Italian operations

DETAILS of the project to restructure the Italian operations of Italcementi SpA have been announced by HeidelbergCement. In July 2015, the German cement firm entered into an agreement to acquire a 45% stake in Italcementi from Italmobiliare SpA, the holding company of the Pesenti family, which will own a significant stake in the new entity.

The integration process, which still depends on the approval of the acquisition by the competent authorities, is now entering the next phase with the announcement of the reorganization of the Italian structure, the aim of which is twofold: to preserve Italcementi’s long-standing industrial tradition and history while streamlining some functions and activities.

The plan, presented in Bergamo by chairman of HeidelbergCement’s managing board, Dr Bernd Scheifele (pictured), keeps the industrial network and plants in Italy as well as the Italcementi brand, consistent with the Group’s policy to preserve the specific local identity of its subsidiaries.

In addition, HeidelbergCement will build on the Italian management heading the Group’s operations in Italy. Bergamo will remain the headquarters of the Italian country organization of Italcementi, and i.Lab, also based in Bergamo, will be home to the world-class product R&D division for the entire Group that will arise from the merger.

In order to streamline the overall Group organization, and in light of HeidelbergCement’s strategy of not establishing regional headquarters, some staff and administrative functions will be centralized in Heidelberg, Germany. The reorganization will impact about 400 of the current 2,500 jobs in Italy until the end of the transition period in 2020, at which time approximately 210–250 professionals will remain in Bergamo.

Commenting on the project, Dr Scheifele said: ‘The integration will combine two of the leading global industry players who share a long-standing tradition of industrial culture, world-class innovation capabilities, and a strong leadership in their respective markets.

‘Following our motto ‘all business is local’, it is important for us to preserve Italcementi’s strengths and professional expertise, which have ensured their success in Italy and abroad. I am convinced that we will be able to achieve the planned €400 million in synergies and bring Italcementi back to profit by operational improvements, streamlining the administration and leveraging the increased size of our combined business.’

The acquisition of Italcementi is subject to the approval of the competent authorities. On 1 April 2016, HeidelbergCement formally submitted the merger plan to the European Commission.

In order to address potential competition concerns, HeidelbergCement have proposed the divestment of Italcementi’s entire Belgian operations, primarily consisting of the subsidiary Compagnie des Ciments Belges SA (CCB). This would remove all overlaps between the activities of HeidelbergCement and Italcementi in Belgium and the Netherlands.

HeidelbergCement say they expect the closing of the acquisition of the 45% stake in Italcementi to be finalized in early July 2016, depending on the decision of the cartel authorities in Europe and the US. Implementation of the integration plan will start after the closing.

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