S K Birla group may exit cement business

S K Birla group may exit cement business
Published: 14 June 2006

After hiving off Saurashtra Chemicals Ltd last year, the S K Birla group might sell its stakeholding in loss-making Mysore Cements Ltd.

It is a logical conclusion to exit the cement business at a time when there was a wave of consolidation both in the country and overseas, company sources told reporters. Mysore Cements has plants in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, and a grinding unit in Uttar Pradesh.

A spokesman said that it did not make any sense to run a two million tonnes per annum cement unit as operations would not become viable due to high transportation costs. "It will be difficult for small regional players to exist," the sources said, adding that they would not be able to compete with the big companies in the country.

Sources said that the matter was being handled by S K Birla himself. Birla could not be contacted as he was out of the country. The group holds nearly 30 per cent stakeholding in the company. Earlier, the group had shelved plans for selling the company due to absence of serious bidders.