Holcim may raise GACL stake

Holcim may raise GACL stake
Published: 07 April 2006

Holcim, which has made an open offer for an additional 20% of the equity of Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd (GACL) after picking up 14.8% of the promoters’ stake, is likely to explore options - among them, creeping acquisition - to shore up its equity in the company (reports The financial Express). The open offer is being made at a price of Rs 90.64 per share, while the GACL stock ended the day at Rs 106.90 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Consequently, the chances of shareholders opting for the open offer have become remote, with the stock moving up 17 per cent in the past month. Holcim, however, can shore up its stake in GACL through creeping acquisitions. GACL managing director Anil Singhvi told Financial Express, "It is expected that Holcim would explore other options to increase shareholding in case the offer doesn’t elicit a good response. 

 “They would like to take their shareholding beyond 14.8%." Holcim bought the promoters’ stake in GACL in January, completing its broad India acquisitions strategy which saw it pick up a stake in the other cement major ACC in 2005. Today, ACC and GACL operate closely on several fronts, including on research and development, procurement and use of alternate fuel. Mr Singhvi said with about 35Mt capacity for the GACL-ACC combine and the AV Birla Group at about 31Mt, there was no pressing need to widen the gap between the two competitors. "I don’t think there’s any pressing need for either of us to be number one or two on this front."