Four Shropshire and Mid Wales quarries sold in £4.9 billion deal

The owner of four quarries across Shropshire and Mid Wales has been sold in a multi-billion pound deal – but jobs are not under threat, bosses say.

Four Shropshire and Mid Wales quarries sold in £4.9 billion deal

Lafarge Tarmac's assets are to be sold to Ireland's CRH as part of the £4.9 billion sale of assets by merger partners Lafarge and Holcim.

It will mean four major quarries in Shropshire and Mid Wales change hands and become part of CRH, which will become the biggest UK company for cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete, asphalt and construction.

CRH chief executive Albert Manifold said: "This transaction represents a significant value creation opportunity for CRH.

"We are acquiring a quality portfolio of assets, which complement our existing positions. The assets will integrate well into existing CRH networks benefiting from our strong business-building capabilities while providing an important platform for future development opportunities."

The massive Bayston Hill site, on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, includes both asphalt and hardstone operations, and is among the sites which have been sold.

The deal will also see the Llynclys Aggregates limestone quarry site at Oswestry pass into new ownership. Dolyhir & Strinds, a hardstone, asphalt and contracting site at Presteigne will also change hands, as will another site in Mid Wales, the Gore hardstone quarry, also at Presteigne.

In Shropshire, the business directly employs around 90 people across its two sites. Dolyhir and Gore Quarries have a long history of mineral extraction, dating back over 100 years, and currently employ 119 people between them, with more non-direct employees such as hauliers also working on the sites.

In total, Lafarge Tarmac employs 6,600 people at 330 sites in the UK as a whole.

It produces 45 million tonnes of aggregates and seven million tonnes of asphalt a year.

Jobs at the Shropshire and Mid Wales sites appear safe following the deal, as CRH said in a statement: "CRH attaches great importance to the skills and experience of the existing management and employees of the new company, who are expected to contribute to the success of the combined group."

However, CRH may need to sell some sites on in order to address competition concerns, with private equity firm KKR understood to be waiting in the wings to pick up any surplus assets.

Bayston Hill was originally established to provide ballast for railways, but now provides aggregate for road surfaces.

About half of the output from the quarry, which was bought by Tarmac from a private owner in 1972, is delivered within the Shropshire area, with the rest going to other road projects elsewhere in the UK.

Formula One

It also provided the surface of the track for the Bahrain International Circuit, the home of the country's Formula One Grand Prix.

Lafarge Tarmac was formed in January 2013 following the merger of Anglo American and Lafarge's cement, aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, asphalt and asphalt surfacing operations in the UK.

In order for the Lafarge Tarmac sale to CRH to proceed, the operation's 50 per cent owner Anglo American will first sell its stake in the UK business to Lafarge.

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