Will fund Lafarge deal through equity and target level financing: Nirma

Having entered into a letter agreement with LafargeHolcim Group for 100% acquisition of Lafarge India for an enterprise value of over Rs 9,000 crore, Ahmedabad-based privately-held conglomerate Nirma Group on Monday said that it will fund the deal through equal proportion of equity and target level financing.

In an official statement, Nirma said that the proposed deal was in line with the group's strategy to pursue organic and inorganic business expansion to develop strong operations across diversified business verticals. "The proposed transaction is effectively an extension of the 'market & product expansion' strategy," the company stated.

Subject to approval by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the proposed deal will see Nirma acquire Lafarge India's three integrated cement plants, two grinding stations and a blending unit with a total capacity of around 11 million tonnes per annum. Lafarge India has roughly 14% market share in East India and ranks second in the region by market share, with primary brands such as Concreto and Duraguard commanding premium market pricing with significant brand recall. The company also has market leading ready-mix concrete business with nearly 72 sites pan-India.

According to Nirma, upon completion, the company will emerge as one of India's top 10 cement players with footprint in eastern, northern and western India through 13 million tonnes of cement capacity and over 72 ready-mix sites.

Nirma will have substantial presence in slag cement in the east, while reinforcing strong portfolio of PPC and OPC products. The combined operations will span two facilities in Chhattisgarh, two in Rajasthan, and one each in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Haryana. In November 2014, Nirma commissioned its first cement plant in Rajasthan and established market presence for its ‘Nirmax’ brand in northern and western states through a network of more than 1,200 dealers.

Post the deal, Nirma's cement sales will be spread across 11 states, including Chattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, NCR region, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Nirma will have a strong distribution network of 3,500 in the east and 2,700 in the north. Add to that, close to 6,000 employees will join Nirma through the transaction.

“This acquisition is a landmark and transformational step for the group’s cement business. With a strong platform like Lafarge’s India business, we plan to take the cement business to the next level and continue to serve customers with the philosophy of better products at better value for a better living,” said Hiren Patel, managing director, Nirma.

As on March 31, 2016, Nirma has sales of over Rs 7,400 crore, with presence in businesses such as soaps and detergents, salt, soda ash, caustic soda, LAB, cement and other chemicals. With over 12 manufacturing facilities in India and the US, Nirma sells its products across six continents and has market leadership across several verticals.

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