The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), yesterday stopped trading of Lafarge Zimbabwe Cement shares for the interim pending issuance of a full announcement of the takeover by Fossil Mines (Private) Limited.
Lafarge, one of the biggest cement products producers, finalised the agreement to sell 76,45 percent of its stake owned by Associated International Cement Limited Fossil Mines recently.
Reports say a total of 61 158 400 Lafarge shares changed hands at $312,65 per share in a negotiated trade conducted at the ZSE. In total, the deal was worth US$29,23 million using the official exchange rate then.
In June this year, Fossil Mines was reported to have entered into a binding agreement to buy 76,45 percent shares in Lafarge Zimbabwe, which is now owned by Holcim Group of Switzerland through its subsidiary, Associated International Cement Limited.
The takeover of Lafarge by Fossil entails that the cement manufacturer would remain a listed business and recapitalised it to increase output by the manufacturing concern.
Holcim has also been reported to be dis-investing from cement business the world, having already sold off its stakes in cement in Northern Ireland, Zambia and Malawi.
Justin Bgoni, the ZSE chief executive, in a statement yesterday said the halt in trading is with effect from December 23, 2022 until further notice.
“Following the execution of a Sale and Purchase Agreement between Associated International Cement Limited and Fossil Mines (Private) Limited for a 76,45 percent shareholding in Lafarge, there has been material developments in the sphere of activity of Lafarge.
“The full impact of these developments are still being assessed and Lafarge will issue a detailed announcement to that effect.
“In the interim, the ZSE will proceed to halt trading in the shares of Lafarge until issuance of a full announcement by Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe Limited,” he said.
He said investors will not be able to buy or sell Lafarge shares during the period the securities halt is in effect.
Fossil Mines recently completed the takeover of Lafarge Cement, giving the infrastructure company control of one of Zimbabwe’s biggest cement producers.
Holcim, Lafarge’s holding company, announced its exit from Zimbabwe in January, as part of a global selloff from several other markets and it announced in June that it had picked Fossil as its preferred bidder for Lafarge.
With demand rising from government infrastructure projects, mining and home builders, cement consumption has increased from under one million tonnes per year in 2017 to 1,4 million tonnes this year.
Lafarge in 2020 began a US$25 million expansion programme as part of the investment. In 2021, Lafarge commissioned a new US$2,8 million dry mortar plant, which increased output of dry mortar products such as adhesives and agricultural lime from just 7,000 tonnes per year to 100,000 tonnes annually, equal to national demand.
Lafarge in its 2022 third quarter trading update said the new vertical cement mill (VCM) has since improved the company’s cement output and will see annual cement production capacity increase from 0,4 tones to 1,0 tonnes and improve raw material availability to the new DMO plant.
It said the overall market demand continues to grow driven by the individual home builders segment as well as the ongoing Government infrastructure projects.
The company said it is well positioned to take advantage of this growth with the increase in installed capacity.