Va. company buying Redland Genstar Parent firm is selling 3 units to a fourth; Acquisitions


Redland Genstar Inc., the Towson-based stone quarry operator, will be sold to Virginia-based LaFarge Corp. by its French parent company as part of a $690 million deal.

LaFarge SA, which owns 52 percent of LaFarge Corp.'s shares, is selling Redland Genstar, Canadian-based Redland Quarries Inc. and Denver-based Western Mobile Inc. to LaFarge Corp. of Reston, Va.

"These are well-run operations with very good market positions," LaFarge President and Chief Executive John Piecuch said yesterday.

Ted Pile, a company spokesman, said the acquisition will make the company the nation's fourth largest producer of aggregates, or crushed stone, sand and gravel.

LaFarge Corp. and Redland Genstar said it was unclear whether the acquisition will ultimately result in layoffs for Redland Genstar, which employs about 850 people in 14 Maryland counties.

But the companies said Redland Genstar does not overlap with any other LaFarge properties. "I wouldn't see any changes in the immediate horizon," Pile said.

Kevin Sniffen, general counsel of Redland Genstar, said the deal "is viewed as a positive development. Integration plans are being formulated as we speak."

The announcement signals the second time in a few months that Redland Genstar and the other two divisions will change hands. The first transaction started in December, when the board of Britain's Redland PLC, parent company of the three businesses, approved a $3.7 billion offer from LaFarge SA.

The French company bought 50.1 percent of Redland PLC's shares in December and the remaining shares in January.

Redland Genstar operates quarries in Churchville, Cockeysville, Marriottsville, Frederick and Medford. It also has a sand operation in Chase. With other operations in Rockville, Jessup, Landover, Hollywood and Crofton, Redland Genstar also TTC produces concrete and blacktop in Maryland.

75% sales gain expected

Those operations account for the majority of the company's workers. About 120 people work at the company's headquarters in Towson.

The acquisition of the three properties, which is subject to regulatory reviews, will bring LaFarge Corp. into five more states, raising its total to 12. The businesses are expected to boost LaFarge Corp.'s sales of sand, crushed stone and gravel by 75 percent.

The combined operations being purchased posted sales of more than $520 million last year, about 29 percent of LaFarge Corp.'s $1.8 billion. LaFarge shares rose 18.75 cents to close at $38.1875 in trading yesterday.

Pub Date: 3/18/98

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