- International cement and concrete company LafargeHolcim announced last week that it has purchased the assets of Metro Mix, a ready-mix concrete company in Denver. In addition to its global operations, LafargeHolcim already operates from more than 350 sites in the U.S. across 43 states.
- According to LafargeHolcim CEO Jan Jenisch, the Metro Mix acquisition marks the fourth purchase this year that furthers the goals of its "Building for Growth" initiative. The Metro Mix deal, he said, would add to LafargeHolcim's 7,000-employee operation in the U.S. and will allow the company to immediately gain a bigger share of the Denver-area market.
- Metro Mix has two Denver-area ready-mix plants, more than 50 employees and had about $30 million in 2017 net sales. LafargeHolcim said it expects the Denver market to experience above-average population growth until 2022, which will drive demand for building materials.
Denver officials are expecting a $4 billion building boom during the next five years, a level of construction activity that could require as many as 30,000 workers. About one-quarter of that dollar amount is tied up in the $1 billion city- and county-owned National Western Center project. The city recently kicked off a pilot program that requires general contractor Hensel Phelps, which has a $250 million site work contract for the center, to hire a certain percentage of locals, including those who were formerly incarcerated, veterans and those who live in economically disadvantaged areas. In an effort to include as many Denver-area residents in the project as possible, the contractor must also do community outreach, offer information about training, and track its performance in meeting the mandated hiring goals.
In June, French authorities indicted Lafarge for allegedly financing terror groups, aiding and abetting crimes against humanity and endangering its employees at a plant in Syria, according to a report from the New York Times. These alleged illegal acts took place between 2011 and 2014, before Holcim merged with Lafarge in 2015.
The French officials claim that Lafarge paid $5 million to armed terror groups like ISIS so that employees working at Lafarge's Syrian cement plant could travel to and from work without being harmed, to settle occasional kidnappings and to ensure access to raw materials. According to LafargeHolcim's January 2018 to June 2018 half-year report to investors, Lafarge will appeal the charges, as well as the 30 million euro deposit (US$ 34.7 million) authorities required for a bail guarantee. The company has decided to record a provision of 35 million Swiss francs (US$ 3.5 million) in relation to the investigation and does not expect the French action to have any additional negative impact.