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Saint-Gobain signs a definitive agreement to acquire CSR Limited

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Cement,

Saint-Gobain has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with CSR Limited (CSR) to acquire all of the outstanding shares of CSR by way of an Australian scheme of arrangement for AUS$9.00 per share, in cash, corresponding to an enterprise value of AUS$4.5 billion (c. €2.7 billion) and a net enterprise value of AUS$3.2 billion (c. €1.9 billion) post short to mid-term monetisable property value of at least AUS$1.3 billion.

CSR is a leading building products company in Australia for residential and non-residential construction with AUS$2.7 billion in total revenue, 30 manufacturing plants and around 2500 employees. CSR is a unique opportunity for Saint-Gobain to establish a leading presence in the attractive Australian construction market. This acquisition, which is fully aligned with the group’s vision as the worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction, is a decisive step to strengthen its presence in the fast-growing markets of Asia-Pacific.

CSR consists principally of building products (AUS$2.0 billion sales and 17.7% EBITDA margin, consensus expected in fiscal year ending March-2024) with Australia’s most trusted and iconic brands that fit extremely well with Saint-Gobain’s worldwide offer on light and sustainable construction. In addition, CSR holds a Property portfolio which is planned to be monetised in the short to mid-term for a value of at least AUS$1.3 billion, and an indirect minority participation (~25%) in an Aluminium business, on which Saint-Gobain will explore its options going forward.

The agreed upon price represents a premium of 33% above the volume-weighted average price per share for the 1-month trading ended on the undisturbed date of 20 February 2024, and a multiple (before synergies) of 10.7x analyst consensus EBITDA for CSR for fiscal year ending March-2024 of AUS$422 million. Taking into account the short to mid-term monetisable value of the property business, it represents a multiple of 7.9x on Building Products consensus EBITDA for fiscal year ending March-2024 of AUS$406 million including AUS$60 million year 3 run-rate synergies.

The business combination has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of Saint Gobain. The Board of Directors of CSR has unanimously recommended that its shareholders vote in favour of the transaction.

Closing of the transaction is subject to, among other things, CSR’s shareholders’ approval, necessary regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, with closing expected in the second half of 2024.

This acquisition will be fully financed in cash and is aligned with Saint-Gobain’s financial criteria:

  • Value creation by year 3 following the closing of the transaction and EPS (Earnings Per Share) accretive from year 1.
  • Maintaining a strong balance sheet and solid credit rating with a limited impact of ~0.3x net debt / EBITDA.

A compelling strategic rationale

  • A decisive step into the very attractive high-growth construction market in Australia with strong fundamentals, supported by solid macroeconomic factors including a growing population underpinned by immigration and increasing needs for light and sustainable construction solutions.
  • A comprehensive range of products and solutions for the construction market with leading brands in interior and exterior solutions. CSR has a compelling customer offering thanks to an extensive footprint across Australia with close proximity to its more than 12 000 customers, best-in-class logistics through 120 hubs and outstanding commercial and technical teams.
  • A business operating model similar to Saint-Gobain, offering integrated solutions delivering sustainability and performance across multiple product lines through a customer-centric organisation. CSR’s ongoing transformation programme ('OneCSR') launched in 2020 is well-aligned with Saint-Gobain’s strategy to drive further profitable growth.
  • A strong and consistent financial performance: strong sales growth of 8% per annum over 2021-2024E for the Building Products business (more than 6% over the last 10 years) with over-proportional EBITDA growth of 12%.
  • AUS$60 million expected synergies in year 3 following transaction close, of which AUS$50 million are cost synergies coming from operational excellence (Saint-Gobain best practice sharing on manufacturing, energy savings and sustainability, supply chain), delisting costs and purchasing, and at least AUS$10 million of growth synergies coming from cross-selling opportunities on additional products with significant upside, such as: Saint-Gobain’s full-range of construction chemicals leveraging GCP’s existing presence in Australia, high-performance glazing and other products that CSR does not currently offer. Saint-Gobain will also bring its expertise in process decarbonisation, low-carbon offer and other innovative new solutions to the benefit of Australian customers.

A well-established relationship that will facilitate a smooth integration

  • The partnership between CSR and Saint-Gobain, initially based on its glass wool technology license, has deepened since 2019.
  • Similar culture and shared values bode very well for successful integration, that will also benefit from the mutual respect nurtured over recent years.
  • Since Saint-Gobain is managed by country, CSR will be easily integrated as one entity representing the group businesses in Australia and New Zealand within the AsiaPacific Region. The group intends to rely on the current strong CSR management team, which Saint-Gobain knows well, and is delivering strong and consistent results.

Benoit Bazin, Chief Executive Officer of Saint-Gobain, commented: “I am delighted to announce the acquisition of CSR that represents a decisive step for Saint-Gobain to establish a leading presence in the high-growth Australian construction market. It is fully aligned with our 'Grow & Impact' strategy and our vision for worldwide leadership in light and sustainable construction. We have admired CSR for many years and have successfully worked together as partners. I am very impressed with CSR’s leadership, the quality of the strategy, and the team’s excellent execution of that strategy. The combination of our joint forces is a fantastic opportunity: Saint-Gobain will bring significant value to CSR by leveraging our expertise on the various core segments of CSR’s operations for the benefit of its customers. I look forward to soon welcoming into our group all CSR employees, and to continuing the success story in Australia and New Zealand. I am very confident that this transaction will result in enhanced growth and value creation for Saint-Gobain shareholders and provide attractive opportunities for both teams.”

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