File - Smoke rises from a furnace at Lafarge cement factory in Trbovlje November 10, 2010. (REUTERS/BOR SLANA)
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The world's two largest cement makers, France's Lafarge and Switzerland's Holcim, have agreed the terms of a merger that would create a company with a stock market value of around $55 billion, a source close to the situation said Sunday.Lafarge and Holcim approved the proposal Saturday and are due to announce it Monday, the source said.Lafarge further suffered when the Arab Spring sparked unrest in the very markets it had banked on with its 8.8-billion-euro ($12 billion) takeover of Egypt's Orascom Cement in 2008 .Lafarge, whose cement helped build the Suez Canal in the 1860s and the Nazi bunkers that dot France's Atlantic coast, employs around 65,000 workers in 64 countries. Holcim, which was founded in 1912, now has about 71,000 employees in 70 countries.Some analysts said a merger would help Lafarge potentially almost halve its fixed and variable costs, as Holcim has a better credit rating than Lafarge and the group as a whole could benefit from lower borrowing costs.
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