The race to find a buyer for Emami Cement heated up this week with the announcement in the local press that both LafargeHolcim and HeidelbergCement had submitted expressions of interest. The Hindu newspaper and others were also linking Nuvoco Vistas Corporation, Shree Cement and Dalmia Bharat to the sale. India’s market leader UltraTech Cement was also in talks with the company back in June 2019.
The subsidiary of Emami Group is being sold by the parent company to cut debt. Speculation on the value of Emami Cement has varied in the media from US$800m to up to US$1.26bn. This variation is possibly linked to upgrades that the company has on the way. It operates a 2.5Mt/yr integrated plant at Risda in Chhattisgarh and a 2.5Mt/yr grinding plant at Panagarh in West Bengal. It acquired a 0.6Mt/yr grinding plant at Bhabua, Bihar in 2018. This unit is being upgraded to 1.8Mt/yr. It is also yet to commission a 2.5Mt/yr grinding plant at Jaipur in Odisha. In addition, the firm has mining assets in Guntur in Andhra Pradesh and near Jaipur in Rajasthan.
Global Cement Magazine staff are attending a variety of industry events this week including the Cembureau Energy Market Prospects (CemProspects) conference in Krakow, Poland, the TÇMB International Technical Seminar in Antalya, Turkey and the European Slag Association (Euroslag) conference in Thessaloniki, Greece. Watch out for reviews of each of these either in forthcoming issues of the magazine or on the website.
Of note to India, various speakers on the first day at CemProspects were extolling the virtues of that market. The country was reported as ‘promising’ in a general review of world cement markets amongst a very mixed situation. Specifically on energy markets, Darren Malone, IHS Markit said that coal imports were ‘ahead’ so far in 2019 as US suppliers benefitted from power plants maintaining orders in an election year. Imports are growing at 7%/yr as the country’s industries need energy. In the long term his view was that India would become the world’s biggest coal importer unless domestic production increases its share. Anecdotal evidence was also raised on exporting SRF from the UK to India as cement kiln coprocessing rates slowly start to rise. This point is matched by the various Indian waste deals we’ve been noticing on our sister website Global CemFuels in recent years.
Coal markets are pertinent to the Emami Cement sales because some sources quoted in the Indian media have pointed out that the cement producer does not have any coal linkages. As such it is more vulnerable to market variations. This kind of talk is clearly part of the bargaining process but, in the wider picture, cement producers’ energy sources are critical. In the context of the Emami Cement sale, this might just determine which side of US$1bn the transaction ends up on. The sale continues.