Strabag to team up with cement top dog

Strabag boss Hans Peter Haselsteiner said today (Weds) his company wanted to protect itself from volatile cement market prices as the firm is set to cooperate with the cement production’s world market leader.Haselsteiner and Bruno Lafont, head of French firm Lafarge, announced yesterday the companies’ joint venture will start doing business by the beginning of 2011.Haselsteiner explained today: “We (Strabag) need 1.5 million tons of cement per year. With this new constellation, exactly this amount will be produced every year.”The joint venture will focus on activities in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), which is they key market of Strabag’s operations.Lafarge – which is headquartered in the French capital Pairs – will hold a 70 per cent interest in the joint venture, while Austria’s biggest building firm Strabag will have a 30 per cent stake.Lafarge’s factories in Retznei, Styria, and Mannersdorf am Leithagebirge, Lower Austria, will be involved in the cooperation as well as its plants in Cikovice, Czech Republic, and Trbovlje, Slovenia.Strabag and Lafarge hope to lower costs and benefit from the joint use of infrastructure.Vienna-based Strabag said recently former Social Democratic (SPÖ) Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer will become head of its supervisory board in June.Gusenbauer has worked as consultant for different companies after his one-and-a-half-year term as chancellor which ended in December 2008.