May 2, 2019 / 6:01 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-LafargeHolcim sells operations in Malaysia and Singapore

(Adds details, background)

ZURICH, May 2 (Reuters) - LafargeHolcim said it was selling its operations in Malaysia to YTL Cement Berhad for $396 million, the latest divestment by the world’s largest cement maker as it retreats from fringe markets.

LafargeHolcim, which last year sold its Indonesian operations in a $1.75 billion deal, said on Thursday it was selling all its 51 percent holding in its Malaysia business which included three integrated cement and two grinding plants.

It also agreed to sell its entire 91 percent holding in Holcim Singapore Ltd, a business which had an enterprise value of 68 million Swiss francs ($66.85 million), to YTL Cement Singapore PTE Ltd.

LafargeHolcim said it wanted to sell assets worth at least 2 billion Swiss francs by quitting non core markets and focussing on areas like North America and Europe.

It has also been trying to cut costs, closing offices in Miami, Paris and shifting its headquarters from Zurich to the Swiss city of Zug.

LafargeHolcim said the proceeds from the Malaysia and Singapore deals would be used to pay down debt, with the company aiming to reach a target of net debt to recurring EBITDA of 2 times or less by the end of 2019.

The ratio, which stood at 2.2 times at the end of 2018, would be improved by 0.1 time following the deal, it said.

The deals are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of this year, it added.

$1 = 1.0172 Swiss francs Reporting by John Revill

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