Cementing the No 1 status

Cementing the No 1 status
Published: 02 May 2006

After making an emphatic move in the telecom arena, buying out Tata’s stake in Idea Cellular for Rs 4406 crore, Kumar Mangalam Birla has turned his attention back to one of his favorite commodity businesses-cement, where his leadership is increasingly coming under threat from international major Holcim. The tycoon has been on the lookout ever since the foreign major got control of both ACC and Gujarat Ambuja. Interestingly, a portion of Kumar Mangalam’s capacity expansion will come from asset transfers from his grandfather B K Birla. His cement capacity will go up from 34Mta to 38Mta when BK Birla controlled Century Textiles’s 4Mt tonne capacity is transferred to him. The young tycoon however is not banking on his grandfather’s largesse and will be doubling capacity of his plant at Shambhupura, Rajasthan, to 3Mt. This expansion along with Century Textiles’ plants will take Kumar Mangalam’s capacity to 39.5Mt, giving him a clear lead. 
 
 But knowing that Holcim too has earmarked a substantial sum for capacity expansion at ACC and Gujrat Ambuja, the tycoon is not taking it easy. He is currently weighing all his expansion options at the Grasim and Ultra Tech facilities across the country. It seems only breaching the 40Mta mark would take him a safe distance away from his nearest competitor (abstracted from Indian Express).