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Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Sign of the times for cement

Suez Cement is going to go private after trying to buy out as many minority shareholders as possible. Shareholders sold some 12.4 mn shares for EGP 92.7 mn to Suez parent company Heidelberg Cement, the EGX said without giving further details. Heidelberg had targeted 59.8 mn shares at a MTO price of EGP 7.5 a share. This would’ve given it ownership of the remaining 33% it doesn't already hold.

Now that the MTO is over, Heidelberg Cement will take Suez’s shares off the EGX. A regulatory filing (pdf) earlier this month said that the Suez board had given the go-ahead to the German parent to purchase the shares of shareholders objecting to the delisting plan or negatively affected by it at the MTO price. Suez Cement subsidiary Tourah Cement, which is indirectly owned by Heidelberg, is also part of the same plan.

What’s going on? The cement industry in Egypt has been suffering for years from a drawn out supply glut that has seen producers bleed cash, potentially leaving as many as six players on the cusp of exiting the market. Tourah Cement suspended operations last year, and is currently struggling to return to get into the black. Suez Cement’s losses have also been widening in recent quarters, with sales struggling to pick up.

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