East African Portland Cement Denies Lafarge Acquisition Talks

(Bloomberg) -- East African Portland Cement Co. denied reports it was in early-stage talks with Lafarge SA about a possible acquisition.

“It has never featured in any board discussions,” the company’s head of financial management, Stephen Nthei, said by phone. “I don’t think it’s a considerable move given the current shareholding structure.”

The Kenyan Wall Street, a Nairobi-based financial news website, reported LafargeHolcim Ltd. was in nascent discussions to acquire the Kenyan cement maker that’s facing cash flow difficulties.

Portland’s board has been considering selling off non-core assets like land to inject fresh capital, he said.

“The company has a strong balance sheet, but an ailing cash flow,” Nthei said.

Lafarge holds a 41.7 percent stake in Portland through three units; Bamburi Cement Co. Associated International Cement Ltd. and Cementia Holding, according to its 2018 annual report. The Kenyan government and the National Social Security Fund are the majority shareholders with a combined 52 percent stake.

Lafarge’s representative on Portland’s board, Kung’u Gatabaki, said he is not aware of such talks.

“Such discussions would be with the shareholders and not the company,” he said by phone.

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