ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss company LafargeHolcim is proposing to simplify its name to Holcim Ltd, the world’s largest cement manufacturer said on Friday, returning to the name of the dominant partner in the 2015 merger that formed the company.
The merger, between the French Lafarge and the Swiss Holcim, was initially presented as a merger of equals, before the shareholders of Holcim demanded and obtained a more favorable share of the ownership of the combined group.
Since then, Lafarge has also found itself embroiled in a scandal over payments to armed groups in Syria, which sparked the departure of original LafargeHolcim CEO Eric Olsen.
The company said it wanted to change its name to “efficiency and impact, while building on the group’s heritage.” The name change will only apply to his company’s name, while his market brands will remain unchanged, he added.
Shareholders will vote on the proposed name change at the next AGM, which will be held remotely on May 4.
LafargeHolcim also proposed on Friday Olsen’s successor Jan Jenisch as a member of the board in addition to his role as CEO, an unusual move for a Swiss company where executives do not usually sit on supervisory boards.
“Jan has led the company into a new era of growth, financial strength and ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance since his arrival in September 2017,” said President Beat Hess.
Bank Vontobel analyst Bernd Pomrehn said he welcomed the continued simplification of the company after years of integration and restructuring.
“LafargeHolcim is now entering a period of profitable growth, which represents a much more attractive investment proposition and justifies a higher valuation,” he said.
Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Jan Harvey