Uncertainty surrounds the future of Hanson after the main shareholder of parent company Heidelberg Cement died when he threw himself under a train.
Adolf Merckle, who was
His death has sent further shockwaves through a businesses still reeling from the drop-off in demand for materials.
Banks have taken control of VEM, Merckle’s holding company, and KPMG is now auditing its
One source close to Hanson said: “We just don’t know what will happen. Any business that has a change of ownership has an uncertain future. It couldn’t have come at a worse time considering the recent restructuring.”
A City analyst said that even before his death, there had been rumours that Merckle’s shares could have been taken over by banks as collateral for his debts.
He added: “The fate of Hanson depends on whether or not Merckle’s family is prepared to let some firms go under to save others.”
Another said: “
“It could break its covenants and would then be forced to sell assets. The major shareholders will not be able to put in more money so there’s a big possibility the group will be in some difficulty at the end of 2009.
“Some of Hanson’s assets will be attractive to other businesses, but its brick business in the
A spokesman for Hanson said: “Adolf Merckle was a member of the supervisory board and the majority shareholder. But at the moment we don’t expect there will be any effect on our business.”