CRH confirms continued interest in India

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Ireland: CRH chief executive Myles Lee has confirmed that the building materials group is interested in expanding its presence in India. The comment follows rumours from the Indian media that CRH and Holcim are both in separate talks with the Shriram Group to buy a stake in Sree Jayajothi Cements (SJJCL).

Lee said that CRH remained interested in expanding its presence in India, but declined to comment on Sree Jayajothi. CRH 'terminated' negotiations with Jaypee Cement Corporation in October 2012 because the parties were unable to agree terms.

"We have been on the lookout for a partner for quite some time and we keep having several discussions with different players both strategic and financial," said T Shivaraman, managing director and chief executive of Shriram Engineering and Procurement Company, which owns SJJCL. He refused to comment on the involvement of either CRH or Holcim. It has been reported that private equity giants Blackstone and KKR are also in separate preliminary talks with Shriram about its stake in the cement manufacturer. SJJCL owns a cement plant with a production capacity of 3.2Mt/yr based in Andhra Pradesh.

The rumours arrived at the same time that CRH announced it had made acquisitions and investments valued at Euro630m in 2012. The bulk of the money was spent in the US, where Euro256m was spent in the second half of the year. In Europe CRH spent Euro119m in the second half of 2012 in acquisitions in Finland and the UK. Lee confirmed that CRH holds between Euro1bn and Euro1.5bn to spend on deals.

Both CRH and Holcim have a combined capacity of around 61Mt/yr in India. Holcim controls ACC and Ambuja Cements while CRH has a venture with Hyderabad-based My Home Industries, which owns a 4.2Mt/yr plant.

Last modified on 09 January 2013

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