The Indian cement industry may witness M&A activity again by the end of 2009, say industry watchers. However, this time, valuations will be low and deals will be driven by a strategic desire to exit rather than financial compulsion to restructure, they opine.
Sourav Mallik, executive director, Kotak Investment Bank, said, "Large players or MNCs will make acquisitions when new entrants and small companies start feeling margin pressures." Apart from issues relating to oversupply, small companies may have made expansions at high costs and will have to spend on brand building; hence, returns may not be up to their expectations and they will look to be acquired, he noted.
Experts believe companies like Reliance, Holcim and Lafarge are waiting for an appropriate time to consolidate. It is also understood that Gujarat Sidhee, Saurashtra Cement and Andhra Cement are waiting for a good valuation to get acquired.