Kumar Mangalam Birla, head of the multi-billion-dollar diversified Aditya Birla Group and chairman of the country’s largest cement maker UltraTech Cement, has said the outlook for the cement industry is bearish in the short term but it has good long-term potential.

Speaking at the AGM of UltraTech, he said, “Our capacity to ramp up is heading on time and will be increased from the present 52 million tonne per annum to 62 million tonne by the end of next fiscal.”

UltraTech is in the process of adding 10 MTPA with a capex of Rs 12,000 crore, which has initiated in FY11 and is being funded through internal accrual and borrowings.

Talking about the fine imposed by the Competition Commission of India on a bunch of cement companies including UltraTech, over alleged cartelisation, Birla said that the company has made a representation to the appellate tribunal citing that it has not indulged in any sort of cartelisation.

With 47 players in the country, Birla argued that there is no hard-found evidence or definite proof of cartelisation.

UltraTech Cement’s capacity utilisation for FY12 was at 83 per cent last year. It has also been scouting for land to set up new plants and has also been counted among suitors for some of the cement plants up for sale.

The company’s share price declined 0.11 per cent to close at Rs 1,711.75 a share on the BSE on Thursday.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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