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LafargeHolcim dovetails stepped up U.S., Canadian regulator cooperation

Lafarge SA and Holcim Ltd. officials see financial benefits and integration possibilities in their proposed “merger of equals,” netting LafargeHolcim—present in 90 countries with $44 billion in sales; 470 million and 384 million tons of cement and aggregate shipments, respectively; plus, 90 million yd. of ready mixed production. The strategy they outlined in Zurich and Paris last month leads to a mid-2015 1:1 share exchange, the merged business operating under executives and directors drawn equally from both companies.

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Industry tackles incendiary silica rule

In a unified front, concrete, cement and aggregate interests question the scientific basis, worker benefit claims, enforcement feasibility and compliance costs at the heart of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking On Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica.

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Argos Proceeds On Cemex-Blazed Trail

Merger and acquisition activity is off to a rapid clip in 2014, as a second year of broad-based housing starts kicks in, construction materials production assets recover from recession-skewed valuations, and major domestic and international operators stake claim to new markets, or rethink their scope.

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To reap efficiency or sow fragmentation

Impending ownership changes of two concrete and cement businesses, one each side of the Atlantic, remind us how reasonably regulated free markets overwhelmingly trump those hamstrung by heavy-handed government agencies. Consider the investor-sanctioned Martin Marietta Materials–Texas Industries merger versus the British government-ordered creation of a portland cement, GGBF slag and ready mixed producer from the sale of existing players’ assets. The driving forces behind the transactions are the embrace or rejection of realities of a market rewarding efficiency versus fragmentation.

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CSHub Investments’ Ripple Effect

A new roadmap shows how European Union cement interests, with much customer assistance, can clip carbon dioxide output from 1990 levels by 80 percent at mid-century. The ambitious goal fits the European Cement Association, based in Brussels—ground zero of carbon trading schemes, voluntary initiatives and regulatory pursuits aimed at net CO2 emissions reduction across the business and consumer landscape. It hinges on improvements in fuel- and energy-intensive cement milling, coupled with promotion of the energy or fuel efficiency inherent in concrete building and transportation slabs or structures.

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