Saint-Gobain to buy Australia’s CSR for $2.8bn

Saint-Gobain CSR
Cap CSR’s bricks and plasterboard are a staple of Australian construction sites (Pawel Papis/Dreamstime

French building products company Saint-Gobain has signed an agreement to buy Australian rival CSR for US$2.8bn.

Shares in the Sydney-based CSR rose 5.2% to A$8.36 on the Australian stock exchange. Saint-Gobain’s offer values the company at A$9 a share. The all-cash offer will now go to a shareholder vote, after which it will be subject to regulatory approval.

CSR, which began life as a sugar refiner in 1855, now operates 30 factories and has annual sales of US$1.8bn.

Paris-based Saint-Gobain said it hoped the deal would make it a “leading presence in the attractive Australian construction market” and in the wider Asia-Pacific region.

The company added that CSR owned a property portfolio worth US$850m, which could be “monetised”.

CSR said today it had entered into a “binding scheme implementation deed” following a unanimous board vote in favour of Saint-Gobain’s offer.

“We believe Saint-Gobain has strong strategic and cultural alignment with CSR and will support innovation in the Australian and New Zealand building products industry,” said CSR chief executive Julie Coates.

Saint-Gobain was formed during the reign of Louis XIV to make the mirrors for the Palace of Versailles.

It will now also take over the manufacturing of Gyprock plasterboard, PGH bricks and pavers, Monier roof tiles and Hebel lightweight building blocks.

The company’s turnover was €35bn last year.

It will also take over CSR’s 25% stake in the giant Tomago aluminium smelter in New South Wales, the biggest of its kind in Australia. 

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