World Economy

LafargeHolcim to Sell India Unit

LafargeHolcim  to Sell  India UnitLafargeHolcim  to Sell  India Unit

A joint French-Swiss company, LafargeHolcim Ltd., agreed to sell an Indian building-materials business to Nirma Ltd. for an enterprise value of about $1.4 billion as the world’s biggest cement company trims assets to help pay down debt, Bloomberg reported. The unit operates three cement plants and two grinding stations with capacity to produce about 11 million metric tons per year, LafargeHolcim said in a statement Monday. Nirma is a closely-held conglomerate founded by Karsanbhai Patel, with more than $1.1 billion in sales in sectors spanning detergents, soda ash and packaging. The transaction will take LafargeHolcim Chief Executive Officer Eric Olsen a step closer to a disposal target of 3.5 billion francs ($3.6 billion) by the end of this year. Amid disappointing results, Olsen’s been forced to defend the merger that brought together the world’s two largest cement companies last year. Steep price declines in India had been among the factors weighing on results, and the CEO has been pushing through a cost-cutting program to defend margins there.