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BIRLA'S ULTRATECH BUYS 23% IN INDIA CEMENTS WITH MKT SHARE RACE WITH ADANI COS




UltraTech Cement, controlled by Kumar Mangalam Birla, has acquired a 23% stake in India Cements from veteran investor Radhakishan Damani for Rs 1,885 crore. The move intensifies UltraTech’s rivalry with Gautam Adani’s Ambuja Cements and ACC as both seek to challenge its position as India’s largest building materials maker. The transaction positions Birla as the second-largest shareholder of the Chennai-based India Cements, behind the founders, N Srinivasan and family, who hold 28%.

UltraTech, the world’s third-most-valued cement company, described the deal as a “non-controlling financial investment”, acquiring shares at Rs 267 each — a 9% discount to the stock’s Thursday closing price on BSE. The 23% stake, which does not include a board position in India Cements, is a little shy of the threshold requiring an acquirer to make an open offer to public shareholders under the country’s takeover code. Despite Srinivasan and family owning 28% in India Cements, 46% of that is pledged, according to the company’s filings with the stock exchanges.

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