Seven years after its merger with Lafarge, Holcim leaves Euronext

The Swiss group is ending its listing in Paris to focus on the Swiss Stock Exchange.

It’s the end of a long and sometimes tumultuous stock market history. The Swiss cement manufacturer Holcim, which had entered into a marriage in 2015 “between equalswith the French Lafarge, will turn its back on the Paris Stock Exchange. The withdrawal from Euronext Paris must take place on December 30. The Holcim share will then only be traded in Zurich, on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

The company explains this decision by the low volumes traded in Paris. This withdrawal will also make it possible toreduce administrative costs“. The multiple quotationsout of fashion, they are very expensive and restrictive and, with rare exceptions, they do not bring muchconfirms an analyst.

A bad new

After the merger, the new entity initially combined the names of the two companies to become LafargeHolcim. But the center of gravity has gradually shifted towards Switzerland. In May 2021, the name LafargeHolcim had been abandoned to retain only Holcim, with the aim of “refresh and simplify the company name, for greater efficiency and impact“, had then explained the company. Lafarge had become a mere brand of the group, thus completing the process of absorption.

At the same time, Holcim had moved its headquarters from the historic site of Rapperswil-Jona to the city of Zug, in the canton of the same name, renowned for its advantageous taxation. Shareholders had approved these changes by an overwhelming majority (99.6%). The Lafarge name had obviously become difficult to bear. He had been considerably splashed by the questioning of the French group in a scandal in Syria around the cement factory of Jalabiya, northeast of Aleppo.

The case broke out in 2016, a year after the merger with Holcim, but it concerned facts dating back to 2013 and 2014, during the civil war in Syria. The management of the group was then entrusted to the German Jan Jensich, ex-boss of the Swiss Sika. Since then, he has undertaken a vast reorganization of the group. With the aim of reducing its dependence on cement, an activity known to be very polluting. The group has multiplied disposals and acquisitions in order to bring the share of construction and renovation trades, which are more virtuous for the environment, to 30% of activity, compared to less than 10% at the end of 2020.

For the Paris Stock Exchange, the departure of Holcim is bad news. This withdrawal from the rating is in addition to that, scheduled, of EDF or Somfy, announced last week. In total, since the beginning of the year, around thirty companies have announced their withdrawal from the Parisian listing, for only around ten IPOs.


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