WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced German cement producer HeidelbergCement AG and Italian producer Italcementi S.pA. have agreed to divest the Martinsburg, WV cement plant along with up to 11 cement distribution terminals in six other states after FTC complaints that their proposed $4.2 billion merger would be anti-competitive.

Heidelberg is the second largest cement producer in the world, while Italcementi is the fourth. The two companies compete in the United States through subsidiaries, Lehigh Hanson and Essroc Cement Corp. These companies focus on producing Portland cement, which is a key ingredient in the making of concrete.

The FTC believed a merger between the two companies would harm competition in five metropolitan areas: Baltimore-Washington, DC; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virginia; Syracuse, New York; and Indianapolis.

The FTC further alleged that without the FTC stepping in and creating a remedy, the merged firm could raise prices, making cement in these markets higher for consumers.

The FTC voted 3-0 to issue the complaint and accept the proposed consent order, which will go before public comment.

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