HeidelbergCement and Holcim in the race for Indian cement co

HeidelbergCement and Holcim in the race for Indian cement co
Published: 17 November 2006

HeidelbergCement AG, which took a controlling stake in the Indian firm Mysore Cements four months ago, and the Swiss cement company Holcim Ltd are in seperate talks to pick up a 15-20 per cent stake in a mid-tier Indian cement manufacturer, ’The Economic Times’ of India reported quoting industry sources.  
The report said both companies have completed due diligence on Gujarat Sidhee Cement, but Heidelberg’s offer is likely to be preferred to that of the Swiss firm and a deal is likely to be reached in the next few weeks.  
Gujarat Sidhee has a 1.5Mta manufacturing plant in the western Indian state of Gujarat and had sales of around 2.9 bln rupees with profits of around 126.7m rupees for the year ended March 2006.  
Meanwhile, media reports also said Holcim has increased its stake in another Indian cement company, Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd, from 14.8 per cent to 18.5 per cent.  
Reports also suggested that Holcim was intent on raising its stake in the firm to 35 per cent, they added. It had, in January this year, bought a stake in Gujarat Ambuja for an estimated US$470m.  
Holcim also holds a 35 pct stake in a major Indian cement producer, the Associated Cement Companies and is one of the largest cement producers of India.