ZSE halts trading in Lafarge shares

The Herald

Nelson Gahadza Senior Business Reporter

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has halted trading in Lafarge Cement shares pending the issuance of a full announcement on the takeover by Fossil Mines Zimbabwe.

ZSE chief executive Justin Bgoni said in a statement the halt in the trading in Lafarge Cement shares was with effect from December 23, 2022, until further notice.

“Following the execution of a sale and purchase agreement between Associated International Cement Limited and Fossil Mines (Private) Limited for a 76,45 percent shareholding in Lafarge, there has been material developments in the sphere of activity of Lafarge.

“The full impacts of these developments are still being assessed and Lafarge will issue a detailed announcement to that effect.

“In the interim, the ZSE will proceed to halt trading in the shares of Lafarge until issuance of a full announcement by Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe Limited,” he said.

Mr Bgoni said investors will not be able to buy or sell Lafarge shares during the period the securities halt is in effect.

Fossil Mines Zimbabwe, reportedly controlled by a consortium group of  locals, recently completed the takeover of Lafarge Cement, giving the local inf company control of one of Zimbabwe’s biggest cement producers.

The deal reportedly involves over 61 million shares at a negotiated price of US$29,7 million. Holcim, Lafarge’s holding company, announced its exit from Zimbabwe in January this year, as part of a global selloff from several other markets and it announced in June that it had picked Fossil as its preferred bidder for Lafarge.

With demand growing driven by Government infrastructure projects, mining and individual home builders, cement consumption has increased from under one million tonnes per year in 2017 to 1,4 million tonnes this year.

In 2020 Lafarge began a US$25 million expansion programme. A year later, the company commissioned a new US$2,8 million dry mortar plant, which increased the output of dry mortar products such as adhesives and agricultural lime from just 7 000 tonnes per year to 100 000 tonnes annually, equal to the national demand.

Lafarge said the overall market demand continued to grow driven by the individual home builders segment as well as the ongoing Government infrastructure projects.

The company said it was well-positioned to take advantage of this growth with the increase in installed capacity.

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