Heidelberg Cement tycoon’s suicide spells trouble for Hanson

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 Germany‘s fifth richest man, committed suicide last week.

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 UK operations, after which the sale of some assets is likely.

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: “Heidelberg has a major debt problem. The banks have given the Merckle entity breathing space, but that doesn’t apply to HeidelbergCement.

“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 UK will be at the bottom of the pile.”

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.”

(Visited 301 times, 1 visits today)

Get involved


As a member of this site you will be able to receive aggregates news relating only to those categories that are most relevant to you, submit job listings for FREE, post questions in the Q&A, and more.

Register Now

Feature your company

The Feature Your Company listing is your custom-made (by us) profile page that allows you to add any of the following content: text, videos, links, images. The page will also be listed on the Featured Company landing page. Over 560 unique aggregates users visit the site per day! Complete the enquiry form now to contact us.

Contact us


Are you looking for an aggregate related job? Click here to see our jobs listing supplied by industry experts United Employment.

See Jobs


Reach thousands of budget holders and decision makers by promoting your company on the longest established aggregate website in the US & Canada. Or advertise in our emails which are sent to opted-in subscribers according to their chosen categories. All advertising will display correctly on tablets and mobiles as this site is responsive.