Saint-Gobain Never Approached Lafarge: CFO

Reuters reported that French building materials group Saint-Gobain said it had never approached cement giant Lafarge about a possible merger and reaffirmed its commitment to sell its packaging unit in 2008.

"We do not share the same industrial logic ... Saint-Gobain in its genes has always been a diversified group ... Their (Lafarge's) strategy is cement, cement, cement," Benoit Bazin said on the sidelines of a shareholder trade fair in Paris on Friday.

Asked whether Saint-Gobain had ever approached Lafarge to discuss a possible merger, Bazin answered: "No."

Rumors of a tie-up between the two groups have been recurrent and were rekindled last week when French newspaper Le Figaro reported, citing sources, that Saint-Gobain had approached Lafarge to discuss a deal.

Lafarge has refused to comment.

The latest speculation coincided with the recent arrival of French investment firm Wendel as a shareholder in Saint-Gobain. Wendel has built a stake of around 16.5 percent, becoming the Paris-based group's biggest shareholder.

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