Abstract: The Americanization of the European Cement Industry: LaFarge in Comparative Perspective, from Fashion to a Structural Change

Dominique Barjot

Abstract

In 2009, the European cement industry dominated the North American market. European cement groups (Lafarge, Holcim, Heidelberg Cement, Italcementi, Buzzi Unicem, and Vicat) became well established in the United States and Canada following strong Americanization during the 1940s and 1950s. The French Lafarge Group, established to overcome decolonization in North Africa, was organized in France as a tentative effort to diversify. The method worked in America for Swiss and Belgian competitors as well. With Lafarge's success in British Columbia, the trend became a durable practice. After technological advances during the mid-1960s, the Group adopted the American organizational model. Under strong leadership, Lafarge became head first of the American, and then of the world, cement industry after rapid internal growth and merger absorptions with Canada Cement (1960s), Portland Cement and the Coppée group (1970s), Redland, and then Blue Circle at the turn of the twenty-first century.

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