LafargeHolcim proposes slimming down company name to Holcim

ZURICH, April 9 (Reuters) - Switzerland’s LafargeHolcim is proposing to simplify its name to Holcim Ltd, the world’s largest cement maker said on Friday, reverting to the name of the dominant partner in the 2015 merger that formed the company.

The tie-up, between France’s Lafarge and Switzerland’s Holcim, was originally billed as a merger of equals, before Holcim shareholders demanded, and were given, a more favorable share of the ownership of the combined group.

Since then, Lafarge has also become embroiled in a scandal surrounding payments to armed groups in Syria, which triggered the departure of original LafargeHolcim Chief Executive Eric Olsen.

The company said it wanted to change its name for “efficiency and impact, while building on the group’s legacy”. The name change will only apply to its company name, while its market brands would remain unaltered, it added.

Shareholders will vote on the proposed name change at the upcoming AGM, due to be held remotely on May 4.

LafargeHolcim on Friday also proposed Olsen’s successor Jan Jenisch as a member of the board of directors in addition to his CEO role, an unusual move for a Swiss company where executives do not usually sit on supervisory boards.

“Jan has led the company to a new era of growth, financial strength and ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance since joining in September 2017,” said Chairman Beat Hess.

Analyst Bernd Pomrehn at Bank Vontobel said he welcomed the company’s further simplification after years of integration and restructuring.

“LafargeHolcim is now entering a period of profitable growth, which represents a much more appealing investment proposition and justifies a higher valuation,” he said. (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Jan Harvey)