The bidders for 10 plants of Cement Corporation of India (CCI) have started the exercise of due diligence, which they are likely to complete in the next month. The government expects to sell CCI by the end of this year.
The government decision on CCI, which has been incurring heavy losses over the years, is very clear: any units that are not sold will be closed down. It is in the process of selling its entire equity in favour of strategic buyers.
So far, the response to CCI privatisation has been good. Though no party has expressed interest to take over the entire company, there are as many as 40 bidders in the race to take over various plants of CCI.
The bidders include major players like Gujarat Ambuja and Grasim.
It may be recalled that CCI is being privatised under the auspices of the administrative ministry, that of heavy industries, and not under the ministry of disinvestment.
The IFCI-SBI Caps combine are advising the government on CCI sale.
Meanwhile the ministry of heavy industries and CCI have expedited the process of voluntary retirement scheme (VRS).
In the last month alone, more than 250 employees availed the VRS, whereas in the entire financial year of 2000-01 only 57 people had availed the VRS. Official sources said that the government wants to make the CCI plants attractive in the eyes of prospective buyers.
Production has declined in the last few years, mainly on account of the closure of plants. This was the reason that CCI entered into marketing alliances with Grasim and Zuari in 2001.
Headquartered in New Delhi, CCI has units at Adilabad and Tandur (in Andhra Pradesh), Bokajan (Assam), Akaltara and Mandhar (Chhattisgarh), Charkhi (Haryana), Rajban (Himachal Pradesh), Kurkunta in Karnataka, Nayagaon in Madhya Pradesh and a grinding unit at Okhla in New Delhi.