Asia tycoons said to be keen on LafargeHolcim's Indonesian unit

Switzerland-based cement-maker LafargeHolcim is seeking as much as US$2 billion (S$2.75 billion) for its Indonesian arm.
Switzerland-based cement-maker LafargeHolcim is seeking as much as US$2 billion (S$2.75 billion) for its Indonesian arm.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JAKARTA • LafargeHolcim's sale of its Indonesian unit has drawn interest from Asian billionaires and regional rivals, including Japan's Taiheiyo Cement Corporation, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Malaysian tycoon Francis Yeoh's YTL Corporation and Semen Indonesia, the country's top cement-maker, are among suitors weighing bids for the business, according to the people.

HeidelbergCement's local unit Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa is separately considering a first-round offer by the deadline later this month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

LafargeHolcim is seeking as much as US$2 billion (S$2.75 billion) for the unit, which has also drawn interest from Indonesian billionaire Anthoni Salim's conglomerate Salim Group, the people said. Deliberations are at an early stage and there is no certainty the suitors will decide to proceed with bids, they added.

Switzerland-based LafargeHolcim hopes to find a buyer for the business this year, one of the people said.

While overcapacity and falling cement prices have dampened cement-makers' earnings in the country, Indonesian demand should grow in the second half of the year as President Joko Widodo pushes infrastructure spending before seeking re-election next year, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts said last month.

LafargeHolcim, the world's biggest cement-maker, announced plans to divest at least 2 billion Swiss francs (S$2.76 billion)of assets next year as new chief executive Jan Jenisch embarks on a five-year turnaround plan to increase sales and cash flow.

LafargeHolcim, the world's biggest cement-maker, announced plans to divest at least 2 billion Swiss francs (S$2.76 billion) of assets next year as new chief executive Jan Jenisch embarks on a five-year turnaround plan to increase sales and cash flow.

A representative for Taiheiyo said the company will consider deals as it pursues expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, but declined to comment on any specific targets. A representative for YTL did not immediately reply to queries sent via e-mail.

Semen Indonesia corporate secretary Agung Wiharto said there is no formal information on the transaction and declined to comment further. Mr Oey Marcos, a director at Indocement, said the situation is still being studied.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2018, with the headline 'Asia tycoons said to be keen on LafargeHolcim's Indonesian unit'. Print Edition | Subscribe