Investors in South Africa's largest cement maker are spoilt for choice. On Friday LafargeHolcim formally joined the fray and said it would conduct a due diligence study and then submit a firm offer to merge some of its African operations with PPC. LafargeHolcim appears determined to eclipse Afrisam's R2-billion cash offer for PPC stock. While the finer details would be fleshed out in a binding proposal expected in the third week of November, LafargeHolcim's offer would include a cash-and-shares combination that would be topped with a special dividend for long-suffering PPC investors. PPC, however, cautioned investors that the LafargeHolcim due diligence study might not lead to a firm offer for their shares. In September Afrisam, South Africa's second-largest cement producer, offered to buy up to R2-billion in PPC shares for R5.75 each. As part of the Afrisam proposed merger offer, Canada's Fairfax Africa Investments would invest R4-billion to pay Afrisam's external debt. Afrisam and...

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