UK firm increases its footprint in the US with new deals.

Building materials firm Hanson PLC is to spend £415m on two acquisitions in order to strengthen its position in both the UK and US markets. It announced today that it has bought Civil and Marine (Holdings) Ltd - the market leading producer of ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) - for £245m, and that it had signed a contract to buy Material Service, the US aggregates producer, from General Dynamics Corp for £170m.

GGBS has found a niche as an environmentally friendly alternative to the conventional Portland cement content in concrete. C&M sold more than two million tonnes of GGBS in the UK in 2005, and employees more than 250 people. It has also established a significant grinding facility in Florida.

The forthcoming purchase of Material Service will further enhance Hanson's business in the US, increasing its annual aggregates volumes in the States by around 15%.

Jim Kitzmiller, President of Hanson Aggregates North America, commented: "This is an important acquisition for Hanson. Adding Material Service's people and assets to our group provides new and exciting opportunities for further development in the north central US area."

Referring to the C&M deal, Alan Murray, Chief Executive of Hanson PLC, added: "C&M is a great business in its own right, as well as being a good fit with Hanson. In particular, this acquisition strengthens our UK business and adds to our growth opportunities in the US."