* Holcim-Lafarge expected to sell 5 bln euros of assets
* Turkey's Oyak, Limak and Sabanci interested in deals
By Ebru Tuncay
ISTANBUL, April 16 Turkish cement makers are
interested in acquisition opportunities that could arise from
the merger of Holcim of Switzerland and France's
Lafarge to create the world's biggest cement maker.
Holcim said last week it would buy Lafarge, creating a giant
with combined annual sales of $44 billion. The two firms, which
operate in 90 countries, expect to have to sell 5 billion euros
($6.9 billion) of assets to win over competition regulations.
Cement companies have already started buying some of these
assets, including Colombia's largest cement maker, Argos
, which said it will pay 50 million euros for a French
Guiana company owned by Lafarge and Holcim.
Competition laws in Turkey, the world's 5th biggest cement
producer, don't allow firms to achieve a market share of more
than 25 percent, encouraging Turkish companies to look for
growth opportunities abroad.
Turkey's army pension fund Oyak said it had
started talks with international investment banks for possible
acquisitions, and had $3 billion in cash allocated for
opportunities arising from the merger.
Oyak owns five listed cement companies, namely Adana Cimento
, Mardin Cimento, Bolu Cimento,
Unye Cimento and Aslan Cimento.
Limak Holding's cement group chief executive Gultekin
Aksuyek said it had already started working on a budget
allocation for these opportunities, as it seeks to become
Turkey's largest cement producer.
"We are the third largest player in the Turkish cement
sector now, holding a 13 percent market share. We aim to become
the largest player by the end of 2016 by buying at least three
production facilities," he said.
Conglomerate Sabanci Holding, which holds cement
firms Akcansa and Cimsa, is looking at
growth through acquisitions, and has said it plans to spend
1-1.5 billion Turkish lira ($467-$700 million) on such
The asset sales are not expected to take place before 2015,
Burgan Invest analyst Ece Mandaci said, adding that two thirds
of the expected sales will be in Europe.
Mandaci said Turkish companies were most likely to be
interested in assets in Germany.
"Akcansa has a partnership with Heidelberg, so
it's likely that competition rules will not allow an acquisition
there for them, but Cimsa and other companies may be
interested," she said.
Akcansa is a joint venture of Sabanci Holding and
($1 = 0.7234 Euros)
($1 = 2.1428 Turkish Liras)
(Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Mark Potter)