Holcim to make 'at least' 15 to 20 acquisitions this year

Credit: REUTERS/ARND WIEGMANN

Adds details, more comments from interview

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Holcim HOLN.S expects to make "at least" 15 to 20 acquisitions this year, and the final figure could be much more, the head of the cement maker's Europe region told Reuters on Wednesday.

"If we can, we will do 30 deals, if it makes sense," said Miljan Gutovic, in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

"There is not a cap," he added, referring to bolt on-deals that could cost 5 million Swiss francs ($5.8 million) to 100 million francs each, although a deal above 200 million francs was also possible.

Holcim is looking at expanding its aggregates business in eastern Europe, and at companies that recycle construction and demolition waste in Britain, France, Germany and Belgium.

"Europe is aging, our infrastructure is aging. You look at the big EU cities, these cities are becoming big mines," he said. London alone could generate tens of millions of tons of construction and demolition waste per year.

"You need to start repairing, demolishing and what do you do with all this material? To get the permit to landfill this is going to be mission impossible."

Holcim is seeing a downturn in demand from the residential sector this year, a trend highlighted earlier on Wednesday by Swiss plumbing supplier GeberitGEBN.S.

But the infrastructure sector - for example roads and bridges - remains buoyant in eastern Europe, while renewable energy projects are underway in western Europe.

Price increases of 3-5% this year along with increased efficiencies are helping the company offset the impact of inflation, although prices could rise by up to 10% in some countries.

Still, Holcim is not being negatively affected by the Red Sea crisis, with the cement maker producing its goods in market rather than shipping through the Suez Canal, Gutovic said.

"Around the Red Sea our movements are negligible," he said. "We do not see this as a major crisis for us."

(Join GMF, a chat room hosted on LSEG Messenger, for live interviews: https://lseg.group/3TN7SHH)

($1 = 0.8631 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by John Revill, Divya Chowdhury in Davos and Savio Shetty in Mumbai Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

((John.Revill@thomsonreuters.com; +41 41 528 36 37; Reuters Messaging: john.revill.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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