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Construction materials firms pave way for merger

A sale of assets to Britain's richest man is set to create a new construction products firm - enabling two of the largest UK operators in the industry to merge.

16 November 2012

Two of the biggest construction materials producers in the UK have moved closer to completing a merger by concluding a sale of some of their assets to ease competition concerns.

Anglo American and Lafarge have completed the sales negotiations that will see Britain's richest man Lakshmi Mittal acquiring £300 million of assets including a large cement works based in Derbyshire.

Three linked rail depots, six aggregate quarries and two asphalt plants will also be sold to Mittal Investments in order to ensure the UK market retains an adequate level of competition.

The Competition Commission had instructed Anglo American and Lafarge to do this to ensure the new company did not dominate the market too much.

It is not the only instance where two firms may have to sell off some assets to ensure a merger is approved by competition regulators.

Last month, chief financial officer of Pearson and Bertelsmann Robin Freestone told the BBC the planned merger of publishing houses Random and Penguin - both of which it owns - should go through once "bits and pieces" have been sold off.

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