The ripple effect of a multibillion-dollar merger is being felt at an Italian-owned local cement facility.
The Federal Trade Commission has ordered the Essroc Cement Corp. terminal at 9680 Old Ridge Road in Ashland be sold to an approved buyer as part of the $4.2 billion merger of German cement producer HeidelbergCement and Italian producer Italcementi.
The order to divest got final approval Tuesday after a public comment period and was first announced in June, according to an FTC announcement.
Essroc Cement is Italcementi’s principal U.S. subsidiary. The Essroc Ashland site is used to store, distribute and sell cement and related products. Heidelberg’s principal U.S. subsidiary is Lehigh Hanson Inc.
The FTC ordered the companies to sell off sites around the U.S. to prevent harm to competition in five regional markets. The markets affected by the decision are Richmond, Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Baltimore-Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, and Syracuse, New York.
The FTC alleged the HeiedelbergCement and Italcementi merger as originally proposed would have reduced the number of competitively significant cement suppliers from three to two.
In addition to the Ashland site, the FTC ordered the companies to divest an Essroc cement plant and quarry in Martinsburg, West Virginia; six Essroc sites that span Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania; and a Lehigh site in Solvay, New York. The eventual buyer also has the option of requiring the merged company to divest two Essroc sites in Ohio.
The divestitures are required to occur within 120 days after the merger is complete. The deal closed July 1, according to a press release from Italcementi.
Messages left with Essroc and the FTC were not returned by press time.