1709074464 The Quebecers are preparing to buy the Joliette cement plant

The Quebecers are preparing to buy the Joliette cement plant

We have learned that the Quebec company Béton Provincial is in the process of taking ownership of the Joliette cement plant at a time when the plant needs major investments to reduce its pollutant emissions The newspaper.

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“I think it's good news because it's in Quebec's interest,” Joliette Mayor Pierre-Luc Bellerose said during a telephone interview.

The Competition Bureau confirmed to the Journal that it was reviewing the transaction concluded in December between Béton Provincial and the assets' current owner, Irish multinational CRH.

The Joliette cement plant has belonged to the Irish giant CRH since 2015.

André Bélanger, CEO of Béton Provincial “Photo from LinkedIn”

Béton Provincial's vice president of legal affairs and communications, Louis Thibault-Germain, declined to comment.

If the transaction is approved, Béton Provincial will receive one of the four cement plants in Quebec. The others belong to the Quebec Groupe Papillon (Saint-Basile), the Swiss Holcim (Saint-Constant) and the Brazilian Votorantim (Port-Daniel–Gascons).

Mutism in Quebec

The Department of Economic Affairs would not tell the Journal whether it would provide financial support for the acquisition of the Joliette cement plant.

In 2020 and 2021, Béton Provincial registered with the Register of Lobbyists to request $150 million in aid to purchase the Port-Daniel-Gascons (McInnis) cement plant. In April 2021, the latter instead passed into the fold of Votorantim with the support of the Caisse de dépôt.

Béton Provincial currently has no registration in the lobbyist register for the Joliette cement plant.

CRH has owned the Joliette cement plant since 2015 and has decided to divest from the plant, despite the company having to invest significant sums to comply with new government environmental standards.

More than 305,000 tons of CO2

“When I met the former owners [en décembre]They didn't necessarily have any intention of investing, says Mr. Bellerose. We can see that they were more in selling mode. […] In my conversations with them, we talked about hundreds of millions or even up to $1 billion. We really wanted to optimize [les opérations].”

Like all cement plants, Joliette's is one of Quebec's biggest polluters. In 2021, CO2 emissions exceeded 305,000 tons.

“Yes, it supports 130 families, but there are also environmental problems,” says Pierre-Luc Bellerose. Especially since we know that there is still limestone today that can be mined for at least 100 years. So there will be topics that need to be discussed.”

The head of the cement workers' union, Samuel Deschênes, was contacted by Le Journal and refused to discuss the matter.

Recall that the Joliette Cement Plant was the scene of a lockout that lasted more than 16 months and ended in October 2022. In addition, according to local media, the plant is suffering from competition with McInnis, the largest cement producer in Quebec.

Béton Provincial has its origins in a company acquired in 1960 by the Matanese entrepreneur Walter Bélanger. Today the company employs more than 2,000 people, more than 500 concrete mixers and 90 factories.

Mr. Bélanger died in September, but three of his four children now run Béton Provincial. His daughter France Margaret Bélanger is a manager at Groupe CH (Montreal Canadiens).

– With Marc-André Gagnon

A factory founded by the Mirons

1965 The Miron family, owners of a quarry in Montreal, built the Joliette cement plant, which they operated under the name Ciment Indépendant.

1976 The Ciment St-Laurent Group acquires the cement plant.

1979 Construction of four more silos

1994 Installation of a waste tire supply system

2009 Holcim buys Ciment St-Laurent and the cement plant

2013 Introduction of natural gas

2015 The cement plant is controlled by CRH (Ash Grove).

Source: factitecimenteriejoliette.com

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