REFILE-UPDATE 3-Lafarge to sell N.American gypsum unit for $700 mln

Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:48pm EDT
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* Agrees to sell North American gypsum unit to Lone Star

* Part of drive to sell non-core assets, cut debt

* Deal expected to close "very soon"

* Analysts say the unit's sale price is good

By Greg Roumeliotis and Anjuli Davies

NEW YORK/LONDON June 24 (Reuters) - Lafarge, the world's largest cement maker, has agreed to sell its North American gypsum business to U.S. private equity firm Lone Star for $700 million as part of efforts to refocus and cut debt.

The transaction, which confirms an earlier Reuters story, is expected to close "very soon", Lafarge said on Monday.

The French company has been shedding non-core assets and refocusing on its cement and concrete business after the debt it racked up to buy Middle Eastern cement-maker Orascom in 2007 led to the loss of its investment grade rating in 2011.   Continued...