UltraTech to buy Dubai’s ETA Star Cement

UltraTech to buy Dubai’s ETA Star Cement

Mumbai: UltraTech Cement said on Thursday it would acquire Dubai-based ETA Star Cement Co for an enterprise value of $380 million, giving it direct access to markets in west Asia and Bangladesh.

UltraTech, which is set to become India’s biggest cement producer with 49 million tonnes when it gets regulatory approval to absorb the cement business of a group firm, said it would have management control of ETA Star.

It did not specify how much equity it would buy nor the cost, but said the deal would be funded by a mix of debt and internal accruals.

“The acquisition is in line with our long-term strategy of expanding our global presence across businesses and consistent with our vision of taking India to the world," Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group that controls the firm, said in a statement.

ETA Star’s manufacturing facilities include a 2.3 million tonnes a year clinker plant and 2.1 million tonnes grinding plant, both in the United Arab Emirates, a 0.4-million-tonne grinding plant in Bahrain and a 0.5-million-tonne grinding plant in Bangladesh.

UltraTech said the transaction was likely to be completed by the end of the June quarter, and would be accretive to its earnings per share.

The company has been awaiting court approval to take over the cement operations of Grasim Industries Ltd, a diversified group company.

Its main rivals in the 270-million-tonne capacity Indian market, the world’s second-largest, are Holcim controlled ACC and Ambuja Cements.

Earlier, UltraTech posted a 26% fall in quarterly profit, lagging market forecasts and pushing down its shares as higher input costs and lower realisations took toll. UltraTech reported January-March profit slipped to Rs228 crore, on net sales of Rs1,910 crore.

UltraTech shares, valued by the market at $3 billion, were down 4.5% at Rs1,026 rupees at 1.30 p.m., in a firm Mumbai market.