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Four majors in race for Indian producer (updated)

World Cement,

Latest news from India confirms that Lafarge, CRH, HeidelbergCement and Italcementi are all after Murli Industries, a little known Indian cement company based in Maharashtra whose total capacity is 2.9 million t.

Non-binding bids have been submitted and the promoters are expecting close to US$200 per tonne. It appears that bids so far are in the region of US$180 per tonne. The total cash payout for the buyer will be around the US$540 – 550 million. The high value of the company is due to the shortage of cement capacity compared with demand in Maharashtra.

Recently, KKR invested Rs.750 crore in a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dalmia Cement, and Vicat also bought a 51% stake in unlisted Andhra-based Bharati Cement for almost US$350 million in April 2010 for its existing 2.5 million t plant and a planned expansion of a further 2.5 million t.

Murli Industries is known for its soya, edible oils, paper and power businesses, but had recently diversified into the cement industry. Its 2.1 million tpa plant was commissioned in March in Chandrapur, near Nagpur. It had also planned to set up similar cement plants in Karnataka and Rajasthan, but over the past few months it appears that Murli’s management decided to divest its non-core portfolio, including cement, to unlock value.

Murli Industries has issued a statement to the effect that the reports of the proposed sale are not based on official information. Murli Industries will provide further information in due course.

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