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Lafarge names new CEO for U.S. operations

BY Ken Clark

Global building materials supplier Lafarge has appointed John Stull as president and CEO, United States, putting him in charge of all aggregate, cement and concrete operations in the United States.

The appointment now brings these Lafarge business lines in the United States together under a single leader, which the company said will focus its delivery on sustainable solutions to the construction industry.

Stull has more than 20 years of experience with the Lafarge Group, including assignments in the United States and Paris. Most recently, he managed Lafarge Group businesses in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He has a chemical engineering degree from the University of Akron and is a graduate of the executive management program at Harvard Business School.

Paris-based Lafarge plans to move its North American corporate headquarters from Reston, Va., to Illinois, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn traveled to Europe with Chicago’s NATO Summit host committee this spring to help negotiate the deal, according to the article. 

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Delaware court sidelines takeover bid for Vulcan Materials

BY Ken Clark

A hostile takeover battle between the nation’s two largest suppliers of construction aggregates — one of the chief ingredients of concrete — was put on a four-month hiatus by a Delaware court on May 14. Although the stay is only temporary, pending the outcome of an appeal, Martin Marietta must put a halt to its efforts to combine the two companies, which include a stock-exchange offer and an effort to elect its own directors to Vulcan’s board.

Discussions about a possible merger began in 2011 between the chief executives of Marietta Materials and Vulcan, according to regulatory filings. But the two CEOs could not agree on issues such as the executive management positions and shareholder premiums.

The all-stock offer arrived on Vulcan’s doorstep on Dec. 11 from the smaller of the two firms, Martin Marietta. Vulcan’s board recommended against the merger, and a proxy battle ensued. Vulcan now accuses Martin Marietta of using confidential information obtained during pre-merger talks to formulate its hostile bid.

Martin Marietta is the second-largest supplier of crushes stone, sand and aggregates in the United States. It also sells asphalt and concrete in certain geographic regions.

Vulcan is the country’s largest producer of construction aggregates and a major producer of other construction materials, including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete and a leading producer of cement in Florida.

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NCI Building Systems to acquire insulated panel supplier

BY Brae Canlen

NCI Building Systems has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Metl-Span, a maker of insulated panels, from a subsidiary of BlueScope Steel North America Corp. The deal is valued at $145 million in cash.

Metl-Span, a leading manufacturer of insulated metal wall and roof panels for more than 40 years, operates five manufacturing facilities in the United States serving the nonresidential building products market. For the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, Metl-Span had estimated revenues of $170 million.  The acquisition is subject to a number of closing conditions, including the expiration or termination of any applicable waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino Act.

Norman Chambers, NCI’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a prepared statement: “The highly synergistic addition of Metl-Span’s products and capabilities will meaningfully enhance NCI’s diversification and expand NCI’s manufacturing footprint in the high-growth insulated metal panel sector, while also growing our customer base and distribution channels. The transaction … will strengthen our position as a leading fully integrated supplier to the nonresidential building products industry in North America, providing our customers a comprehensive suite of building products.”

In connection with the transaction, NCI will refinance its existing asset-based lending (ABL) facility and term loan, which were both set to mature in 2014.  NCI has secured a new fully committed ABL and term loan that will be used, together with cash on hand, to fund the acquisition.  

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