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Switzerland's Holcim plans separation of US business - WSJ

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss cement maker Holcim is seen in Zug

(Reuters) -Swiss building materials giant Holcim is nearing a deal to separate its North America business that could be worth more than $30 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

The deal could be announced this coming week, assuming the plans don’t fall apart at the last minute, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Holcim did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Holcim has close to 350 sites in 43 states in the U.S. and employs 7,000 people, according to its website.

In July last year, the Swiss company said North America was on track to reach around 40% of group sales, increasing to roughly $12 billion, up from $10 billion the previous year.

The Swiss cement maker has been banking on new business in the United States from manufacturers shifting production home to avoid supply chain jams and taking advantage of government subsidies.

North America remains an attractive market for Holcim's investments and acquisitions, the head of the cement maker's Europe region told Reuters this month.

“Today, 40% of our business is North America. And we have been in North America for the past 50-plus years. So, we have a very strong geographical footprint in U.S., but also in Canada," said Miljan Gutovic, in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

"We have many initiatives across North America to increase the capacity to de-bottleneck our plants. And also, we are looking at the M&A," Gutovic added.

(Reporting by Jyoti Narayan in Bengaluru;Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Nick Macfie)