Lafarge considers revised plan for India business
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

LafargeHolcim, the world’s biggest cement maker, said on Thursday it is considering a revised plan to sell Lafarge’s India operations after a deal to sell part of the business to Birla Corp fell through due to regulatory issues.

The company has submitted a new proposal to the Competition Commission of India, it said in a statement, without giving any details of the alternative plan.

LafargeHolcim was formed after the global merger of French cement maker Lafarge and Switzerland’s Holcim. To complete the merger in the country, anti-trust watchdog Competition Commission of India had asked the combined company to divest some assets.

Lafarge India Pvt Ltd has an annual cement capacity of around 11 million tonnes. Holcim also owns controlling stakes in cement makers ACC Ltd and Ambuja Cements Ltd.

In August last year, Lafarge India struck a deal with Birla Corp to sell its cement plants at Jojobera in Jharkhand and Sonadih in Chhattisgarh for an enterprise value of Rs 5,000 crore. The two plants have a total capacity of 5.1 million tonnes.

The deal, however, was contingent on the CCI’s approval as well as transfer of mining rights for the two plants. LafargeHolcim said it is no longer in discussion with Birla Corp for the deal and that it remains in dialogue with the CCI for the divestment process in India.

Meanwhile, Birla Corp, the flagship firm of the MP Birla Group, has threatened to take legal action against Lafarge India for its inability to complete the deal.

In a stock-exchange filing on Tuesday, Birla Corp said it has discussed the matter with its legal advisors and decided not to accept Lafarge India’s contention. 

The acquisition would have helped Birla Corp consolidate its position in the eastern India market. The firm has a total operational cement capacity of about 10 million tonnes a year with units in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

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