Dangote Expresses Interest in Kenyan Cement Firm ARM

A Dangote Cement Plc logo stands on a barrier at the under-construction Dangote Industries Ltd. oil refinery and fertilizer plant site in the Ibeju Lekki district, outside of Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday, July 5, 2018.

Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s biggest producer of the building material, expressed an interest in acquiring Kenyan rival ARM Cement Ltd., according to three people familiar with the matter.

ARM has been exploring a sale since at least October 2017. The company, part-owned by CDC Group Plc, was placed in administration in August after failing to find a strategic investor to help it manage debts of 14.4 billion shillings ($141 million).

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and the owner of Dangote Cement, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday that the company is in talks about a potential acquisition of a company with operations in Kenya and Tanzania. While he didn’t identify the company, ARM has assets in both countries, as does Switzerland-based LafargeHolcim Ltd.

Dangote Cement first signaled its interest in ARM last year and renewed its attention after management of the company was handed over to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s Kenyan unit, said two of the people. Other parties that considered bids included Germany’s HeidelbergCement Ag and LafargeHolcim, with the former still keen on the business, the people said.

Dangote Cement spokesman Carl Franklin declined to comment. PWC administrator George Weru said he couldn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone. HeidelbergCement spokesman Andreas Schaller wasn’t immediately available for comment.