Lafarge offers to buy out minority shareholders in Ashaka Cement

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Lafarge Africa will make an offer on Wednesday worth about $122 million to buy out minority shareholders in its Nigerian business Ashaka Cement .

The offer follows the $1.35 billion merger of Lafarge Africa’s Nigerian and South African businesses, which received approval from shareholders in July.

Lafarge Africa, the Nigerian arm of French cement maker Lafarge, said on Monday that as part of the merger deal it had acquired a stake in Ashaka Cement of more than 30 percent, the trigger point for making a full takeover bid under Nigeria’s securities and takeover rules.

Under the terms of the offer, shareholders who accept it will receive 57 Lafarge Africa shares for every 202 held in Ashaka Cement and an additional cash payment of 2 naira per share. The offer will run from December 10, to January 16, 2015, the company said.

Shares in Ashaka Cement, which have gained 17 percent this year, were flat at 23.99 naira at 1119 GMT. Lafarge Africa, which accounts for a sixth of Nigeria’s stock market capitalisation, was also flat at 76.50 naira each.

The consolidation will enable Lafarge, which faces intense competition in Africa, especially from arch rival Dangote Cement , owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, to accelerate growth on the continent.

Dangote Cement, Nigeria’s biggest listed company, with a market capitalisation of around $24 billion, is also rolling out cement plants across Africa.

Lafarge Africa has 60 percent of Lafarge Wapco, its listed subsidiary in Nigeria, 58.6 percent of Ashaka Cement Plc , and 100 percent of the Atlas cement company.

Last month, Lafarge Africa entered into an agreement to buy a 30 percent stake in United Cement Company from Flour Mills of Nigeria that will give Lafarge’s Nigeria Cement Holdings complete control.

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