Holcim buys into Gujarat Ambuja

Holcim buys into Gujarat Ambuja
Published: 30 January 2006

As forecast  by CemNet some weeks ago, Holcim Ltd has now said it has just acquired a 14.8 per cent stake in India’s third largest cement maker Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd for US477m and plans a public offer for up to a further 20 per cent in order to get board and management control. The Swiss cement maker said it bought the stake from the Indian firm’s founding families and signed an agreement with them on transfer of control.

According to India’s takeover code, Holcim is required to make an offer to all shareholders to acquire up to a further 20 per cent of GACLs share capital before board control can be transferred. Subject to regulatory approval, Holcim said it will offer shareholders about 90 rupees a share and has earmarked up to a further US$560m for the purpose.

Holcim said that depending on the outcome of the public offer it will be evaluated to what extent the transaction will be backed with equity in order to safeguard its financial profile.

GACL was founded in 1981 by Narottam Sekhsaria and Suresh Neotia. The group, which operates mainly in northern and western India, owns four cement plants and two grinding stations producing up to 14Mt of cement annually.