Business

Swiss owners of Cookstown cement works in £56m sale to local management

Lafarge cement business has been sold to the newly-established Cookstown Cement group for £56 million
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SWITZERLAND-headquartered construction materials giant Holcim has sold its Lafarge cement business in Northern Ireland to the newly-established Cookstown Cement group for £56 million.

Cookstown Cement is led and co-owned by David Millar, a former executive with Lafarge, who has 38 years’ experience in the cement and construction industries, and is backed by the Loughran family, who own the Lissan Coal Company and franchise of GO petrol stations.

The new company has acquired all of the business of Lafarge Ireland from Aggregate Industries, part of Holcim Group, including a cement plant with production capacity in excess of 450,000 tonnes in Cookstown, a limestone quarry also in Cookstown, a shale quarry in Dungannon and an import export facility in Belfast Harbour.

And the new owners say they are committed to investing £12 million in the facilities to upgrade environmental capabilities and processes and improve efficiency.

Holcim's EMEA region head Miljan Gutovic said: “In Cookstown Cement Ltd, we have found a strategic and trusted owner for the business, better positioned to continue investing in its long term growth. We are delighted about Cookstown Cement Ltd’s vision, offering a solid platform for the team to continue to thrive.”

David Millar, managing director of Cookstown Cement Ltd: “We have acquired a great company with a strong team and excellent products and the investment we are making will allow us to expand further in the years to come. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring new investment and a new, local approach to this established business.”

Mr Millar met with around 100 Lafarge staff and informed them of the acquisition at the end of last week.

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring new investment and a new, local approach to this established business. We have acquired a great company with a strong team and excellent products and the investment we are making will allow us to expand further in the years to come.

“The staff were informed of the acquisition on Friday, and in the coming days I will be meeting the team and our customers and suppliers and telling them more about the investment in the business and processes we are going to make.

“While some change is inevitable and environmental improvements are essential, my aim is to very quickly create a solid foundation for the business to grow as the construction industry evolves.

“This is a new beginning for this Tyrone-headquartered business and I am very much looking forward to getting started.”

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