PARIS French giant Lafarge LAFP.PA said on Tuesday it had agreed with Elementia, an industrial conglomerate part-owned by the world's richest man Carlos Slim, to combine their cement assets in Mexico.
Lafarge will contribute its two plants of Vito and Tula with a total capacity close to 1 million tonnes while Elementia will contribute the new 1 million tonnes plant it is currently building in central Mexico, the statement said.
The transaction, which involves no cash and is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second-half 2013, pursuant to the start up of the new plant of Elementia.
The new joint-venture will be 47 percent held by Lafarge and 53 percent by Elementia.
Elementia, which is eyeing a public listing in the medium term, is 46 percent-owned by Slim's Grupo Carso (GCARSOA1.MX), with the remaining 54 percent held by businessman Antonio del Valle, a majority shareholder of plastics pipe maker Mexichem (MEXCHEM.MX).
Elementia, with annual sales of around $1.2 billion, last year launched Cementos Fortaleza, a new cement maker in a market led by Cemex (CMXCPO.MX) (CX.N).
Fortaleza aimed to kick off operations of its $300 million plant in the state of Hidalgo in December. Company officials were not immediately available for an update.
Other competitors in the Mexican cement market include Holcim Apasco, Grupo Cementos Chihuahua, Corporacion Moctezuma and Cemento Cruz Azul.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris, additional reporting by Cyntia Barrera in Mexico City; editing by Andrew Hay)