HeidelbergCement is a German multinational building materials company headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany. It is a DAX corporation. On 1 July 2016, HeidelbergCement AG completed the acquisition of a 45% shareholding in Italcementi. With the acquisition, HeidelbergCement became the number 1 producer of aggregates, the number 2 in cement and number 3 in ready-mixed concrete worldwide. The enlarged Group has activities in around 60 countries with 63,000 employees working at more than 3,000 production sites. HeidelbergCement operates 156 cement plants with an annual cement capacity of 197 million tonnes, more than 1,700 ready-mixed concrete production sites and over 600 aggregates quarries.
The company was founded on 5 June 1874 by Johann Philipp Schifferdecker, at Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was making 80,000 tonnes per annum of Portland cement in 1896. Numerous other small companies were taken over from 1914 onwards, and by 1936 it was making one million tonnes per annum. Activities abroad began with the acquisition of part of Vicat Cement, France. Shipments reached 8.3 million tonnes in 1972. In 1977, a massive program of purchases in North America began with the acquisition of Lehigh Cement. In 1990, expansion in eastern Europe began. In 1993, it acquired part of SA Cimenteries CBR of Belgium, which already had a major multinational operation. Since then it has continued to expand, with complete buy-out of CBR, and purchases in eastern Europe and Asia. A major step was the acquisition of Scancem in 1999, with operations in Northern Europe as well as Africa. Indocement in Indonesia was included in 2001. In 2007, the British company Hanson was acquired, a transaction worth £7.85 billion (US$15,8 billion), which gave the company a stronger market position in UK and US, and turned HeidelbergCement into the world's leading producer of aggregates.
HeidelbergCement has (2010) 29 cement and grinding plants in Western and Northern Europe, 19 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 16 cement plants in North America, 14 in Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. The company sold Maxit Group and its 35% share in Vicat Cement to help finance its acquisition of Hanson plc in August 2007. In most of the Group’s European countries, HeidelbergCement is the market leader in the cement business.
Adolf Merckle was a big investor in HeidelbergCement . A capital increase in HeidelbergCement in September 2009, combined with a selling of shares from the Merckle family, opened up for other international owners and higher trading volumes on the stock exchanges.
In 2006, HeidelbergCement AG entered the Indian cement market with the acquisition of Mysore Cement.
On 1 July 2016, HeidelbergCement AG completed the acquisition of a 45% shareholding in Italcementi S.p.A. With the acquisition, HeidelbergCement becomes the number 1 producer of aggregates, the number 2 in cement and number 3 in ready-mixed concrete worldwide. The company agreed to sell its US assets for $660 million to Cementos Argos to fulfil anti-trust requirements for the takeover. HeidelbergCement enters new important markets, such as France and Italy in Europe, Egypt and Morocco in North Africa and Thailand in southeast Asia. In the Canada, India and Kazakhstan, the takeover will further strengthen the existing market presence of HeidelbergCement.
The enlarged Group has activities in around 60 countries with 63,000 employees working at more than 3,000 production sites. HeidelbergCement operates 156 cement plants with an annual cement capacity of 197 million tonnes, more than 1,700 ready-mixed concrete production sites and over 600 aggregates quarries.
HeidelbergCement has been heavily involved in the construction of a controversial cement plant on the Indonesian island of Java through its subsidiary "Indocement". The objective is the exploitation of the Kendeng mountains against the resistance of the people living there. In addition to the destruction of the complex ecological system, the construction also has created the marginalization of -partially indigenous living- inhabitants of the region to follow. After the conflict came to a head in 2014, more than 20 local women remained living in a protest camp on the construction site. The visiting time is limited to 10 minutes for chosen relatives only by the construction officials. Thereby, many solidary activists and supporters of the "Kendeng-Women" are not able to get in contact with them anymore. Therefore, the Cement Company is faced with accusations of human rights violations.
On April 10, 2016, the 666th day of isolation, the women walked in front of the presidential palace in Jakarta, where they symbolically concreted their legs. In addition to the protest against the factory building and its ecological consequences as "misconceived `development` at the expense of indigenous and peasants ", the activists also appealed politically at HeidelbergCement that a multinational "company should not invest in environmental destruction and human rights violations, in any country in the world."
In Israeli-occupied West Bank HeidelbergCement's wholly owned subsidiary Hanson Israel manufactures ready-made cement, aggregates and asphalt for Israel’s construction industry. In March 2009, the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din filed a petition with the Israeli high court demanding a halt to mining activity in West Bank quarries, including Hanson Israel's Nahal Raba quarry. According to research of the ARD magazine "Panorama" on 2 September 2010 and the ARD Studios Tel Aviv the minerals produced are brought to Israel without any benefit to the Palestinian communities. Palestinians from the village of az-Zawiya in the immediate vicinity of the quarry lay claim to the land. The Israeli Supreme Court rejected the petition from Yesh Din in December 2011.