Owens Corning Selling Two European Factories

Sale intended to ease antitrust concerns over a proposed venture with its French competitor, Saint-Gobain.

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – Owens Corning said Tuesday it will sell two European plants to ease antitrust concerns over a proposed venture with Saint-Gobain, and is in talks to buy the French building materials company's reinforcement unit outright.
Nearly a year ago, the U.S. building materials maker said it was discussing possibly merging its reinforcements business with that of its French competitor. The deal was announced in February.
In April, Owens Corning withdrew its European regulatory filing for the venture, saying both companies wanted extra time to align their antitrust review timetables in Europe and the U.S.
Under the plan announced Tuesday, Owens Corning said it will sell its glass fiber reinforcement manufacturing facilities in Battice, Belgium, and Birkeland, Norway. It said the sale is intended to address regulatory concerns about the proposed joint venture. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
The company also said it ''is in active discussions with Saint-Gobain regarding the potential conversion of the proposed joint venture into an outright acquisition'' of the French company's reinforcement and composites unit, known as Vetrotex.
''Should such conversion occur, it is expected that the planned sale of the two manufacturing facilities would go forward in order to address regulatory concerns associated with the acquisition transaction,'' Owens Corning said in a statement.
Under the earlier terms of the deal, the two companies agreed that OwensCorning would own 60 percent of the venture. After four years, Saint-Gobain would be able to sell its 40 percent interest to Owens Corning.
The new company, which would be known as OCV Reinforcements, would have annual revenue of about $1.8 billion and 10,000 employees.
Owens Cornings shares closed Monday at $32.49.