In August 2015, the Irish company CRH completed its acquisition of the Novi Popovac cement plant. This takeover was part of a global deal for CRH to acquire certain assets from Lafarge S.A. and Holcim Ltd, at a total price of €6.5 billion. Here we talk to Frederic Aubet, General Manager of CRH Serbia.
Mr Aubet, can you briefly introduce CRH to our readers?
– CRH is the leading international group in the field of building materials, employing 89,000 people at almost 3,900 operating sites in 31 countries worldwide. With a market capitalisation of €24 billion (in August 2016), CRH is the largest company in the building materials industry in North America and the second-largest worldwide. The Group has a leading position in Europe and an established strategic position in emerging markets in Asia and South America.
With two concrete plants in the vicinity of Belgrade, in Krnjača and Dobanovci, CRH Serbia is also present on this market, while its fleet of almost 20 ships exploits, transports and sells sand and gravel of different size fractions all over Serbia.
How do you see CRH Serbia’s operations at the moment and its position in the market?
– Serbian operations are very well developed, with a strong market position in three business areas: cement, ready-mix and aggregates. As the number two player in a consolidated Serbian market, CRH Serbia delivers robust performance with very well located and resource-backed assets, and with a strong local management team.
On the other hand, the construction industry in Serbia has been in crisis for several years. I am optimistic and want to think that the economic measures are taken by the Government, as well as key projects that have been announced (Belgrade Waterfront, Corridor X, XI), will have a positive impact on the market and an incipient recovery in the construction industry. We are already seeing some improvements.
The CRH Serbia cement plant lies in Central Serbia, in the village of Novi Popovac near Paraćin, 160km south of Belgrade. The annual capacity of the plant is 1,350,000 tonnes of cement and binder
In your view, what is the role of NALED and what are your expectations?
– NALED is for sure one of the most influential business associations in Serbia. We consider the role of NALED as a medium to promote best practice and the interests of businesses, local governments and citizens in Serbian society. NALED should also continue its strong support to the Serbian government in the process of European integration.
On the other hand, CRH Serbia is an active member of NALED’s Fair Competition Alliance because we want to contribute with our experience and expertise to the efficiency and quality of NALED initiatives.