Building Materials Company Holcim to Spin Off North American Business

Officials said listing the segment would “unleash” its potential in "one of the world’s most attractive construction markets."

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GENEVA (AP) — Shares of Holcim Ltd. jumped Monday after the Swiss-based cement and building materials company announced plans to spin off its North American unit and list its shares in the U.S.

Sunday's announcement of the listing and spinoff comes 15 months after Holcim's French subsidiary Lafarge pleaded guilty to paying millions of dollars to the Islamic State group to keep a plant open in Syria and agreed to pay about $778 million in penalties in a settlement with U.S. authorities.

At the time, the Islamic State group controlled a vast swath of Syrian territory and was engaged in torturing kidnapped Westerners.

The listing, which is expected to be completed in the first half of next year, would create a North American unit that is targeting more than $20 billion in net sales by 2030, the company said. Holcim will retain its listing on the Swiss SIX stock exchange.

Chairman and CEO Jan Jenisch will lead the North American operations and hand over duties of CEO of Holcim to executive committee member Miljan Gutovic, an Australian national, on May 1.

In a statement, Jenisch said the U.S. listing would "unleash" the company's potential to be an attractive partner to customers "in one of the world's most attractive construction markets."

In midmorning trading on SIX in Zurich, Holcim shares were up 4.3% to 67.02 Swiss francs (about $77.78) apiece, after rising as high as 67.96 francs — or nearly 6% — shortly after the open.

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