At the beginning of April 2016 HeidelbergCement announced the project to restructure the Italian operations of Italcementi S.p.A. On 28.07.2015, HeidelbergCement had entered into an agreement to acquire a 45 % stake in Italcementi from Italmobiliare S.p.A., the holding company of the Pesenti family, which will own a significant stake in the new entity.
The integration process, which still depends on the approval of the acquisition by the competent authorities (EC and FTC), is entering the next phase with the announcement of the reorganization of the Italian structure. The aim is twofold: preserving Italcementi’s long-standing industrial tradition and history while streamlining some functions and activities.
The plan presented in Bergamo by Chairman of the Managing Board Dr. Bernd Scheifele keeps the industrial network and plants in Italy as well as the Italcementi brand, consistent with the Group’s policy to preserve the specific local identity of its subsidiaries. In addition, HeidelbergCement builds on Italian management heading the Group’s operations in Italy. The world-class R&D capabilities will be strengthened: i.Lab, based in Bergamo – where Italcementi will keep the headquarters of the Italian country organisation – will become the home of the product R&D division of the whole Group.
In order to streamline the overall Group organisation, and in light of HeidelbergCement’s strategy of not establishing regional headquarters, some staff and administrative functions will be centralised in Heidelberg. According to the integration plan – expected to be completed by 2020 – around 170 people will receive relocation offers to other offices within the Group. Any redundancies in Bergamo – which could potentially affect between 230 and 260 people – will be handled using Italy’s temporary layoff scheme (Cassa Integrazione), which does not need to be extended beyond the figures included in the current procedure that had already been fixed by Italcementi with the government in the past. In addition, severence packages will be negotiated with the unions. At the end of the transition period in 2020, about 210 to 250 professionals will remain in Bergamo.
The acquisition of Italcementi is subject to the approval of the competent authorities. On 01.04.2016, Heidelberg-Cement formally submitted the merger plan to the European Commission. In order to address potential competition concerns, HeidelbergCement has decided to propose the divestment of Italcementi’s entire Belgian operations, primarily consisting of Italcementi’s Belgian subsidiary Compagnie des Ciments Belges S.A. (CCB). The proposed divestment would remove all overlaps between the activities of HeidelbergCement and Italcementi in Belgium and the Netherlands. Preparations for the divestment have already started and BNP Paribas has been mandated to support the process. Significant interest in the fully vertically integrated market positions in Belgium has already been recorded. The divestment process will be carried out within the framework of the relevant social processes and ongoing dialogue with the employee representatives’ bodies.