Cement-makers want Indian firm

Cement-makers want Indian firm
Published: 17 February 2004

The BK Birla group is close to finalising a deal to sell its 1.5Mt cement company in India, Mangalam Cement Ltd.

The group is at an advanced stage of negotiations with four buyers ­ Lafarge and three leading Thai cement companies.  Representatives of Lafarge recently inspected the company’s twin plants at Kota in Rajasthan. A London-based broker acting for three companies in Bangkok visited the plants on 6 February.

A top source in Birla Buildings, headquarters of the INR55bn rupee, group confirmed the visits, although he declined to divulge the identity of the Bangkok-based companies.

Lafarge will send a second team to ’negotiate’ with the Birla group this month, with a deal expected to be signed this fiscal year, the sources added.  However, a Lafarge India source said: ’We do not comment on such issues.’

The BK Birla group had made an attempt to sell the company to the Mexican giant Cemex 18 months ago. Birla Buildings sources said Mangalam Cement executives had requested the group patriarch retain the company after it started doing very well.