UPDATE 3-Brazil Votorantim to buy stake in Portugal’s Cimpor

* Brazil Votorantim says to buy 17.28 pct stake in Cimpor

* Votorantim and France’s Lafarge agree to stock swap

* Portuguese government seen playing role in Cimpor deal
(Updates with Caixa agreement)

SAO PAULO, Feb 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Brazilian cement maker
Votorantim Cimentos said on Wednesday it reached a deal to buy
a stake in its Portuguese counterpart Cimpor (CPR.LS: ).

Votorantim Cimentos, a unit of Brazilian industrial
conglomerate Grupo Votorantim, said in a securities filing it
has agreed to a stock swap with France’s Lafarge (LAFP.PA: ) for
a 17.28 percent stake in Cimpor.

The Brazilian company also said it reached an agreement
with Portuguese state-run bank Caixa Geral de Depositos to win
control of 9.6 percent in Cimpor. Under terms of the deal
Votorantim would have to remain a minority shareholder in

At current market prices, a 17.3 percent stake in Cimpor is
worth about 716 million euros ($1 billion).

Cimpor is already the target of a $5.5 billion takeover bid
by Brazilian steelmaker CSN (CSNA3.SA: )(SID.N: ), currently a
minor player in Brazil’s burgeoning cement market.

Cimpor’s board of directors rejected the CSN bid last
month, and investors are betting CSN will end up sweetening its

Brazilian antitrust authorities are worried that
Votorantim’s move might be “defensive,” Estado said, adding
that such moves would block an increase in competition in the
domestic cement market.

Camargo Correa recently withdrew a bid for a minority stake
in Cimpor but said it remains interested in the company.

Winning the blessing of the Portuguese government, which is
reluctant to give up Cimpor to a foreign rival, might help
decide the winner of a bidding war for Cimpor, according to
analysts, including Pedro Galdi of SLW Corretora in Sao Paulo.

Unlike CSN, Votorantim is not attempting to win control of
Cimpor, Estado said.

Cimpor has a number of large shareholders, including
Portuguese construction company Teixeira Duarte with a 23
percent stake, French cement maker Lafarge with 17 percent, and
state-owned Caixa Geral.

Votorantim is the largest diversified industrial
conglomerate in Brazil and also the biggest cement maker in the
South American country.

The Portuguese Cimpor, one of the 10 top cement producers
in the world, is the fourth-largest maker of the material in
Brazil and would help CSN improve its position significantly in
the local market.

Cimpor’s annual capacity of 6.4 million tonnes in Brazil
would catapult CSN into the position of the country’s
second-largest cement producer behind Votorantim.

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(Reporting by Cesar Bianconi and Guillermo Parra-Bernal;
Writing by Luciana Lopez; editing by Carol Bishopric)

UPDATE 3-Brazil Votorantim to buy stake in Portugal’s Cimpor