Kumar Birla sets eyes on fertiliser unit in US
The $40-billion textile-to-telecom Aditya Birla group is planning to buy a fertiliser plant in the US to benefit from cheaper prices of shale gas to fuel factories, the group’s promoter Kumar Mangalam Birla said. If the plan materialises, it would be the group’s first acquisition of an overseas fertiliser unit.
“There’s going to be a huge geopolitical shift with shale gas in America,” Birla said in an interview to a television channel. “This is an interesting opportunity, given the fact that we have a large exposure to manufacturing. I see companies in chemicals and fertiliser space or companies that give technology for the group’s business.”
The acquisition is likely to be made through Aditya Birla Nuvo, one of the group’s listed entities, said sources. “The group is currently scouting for assets; so, negotiations have not begun as yet,” said a person in the know of the development.
Birla said the group is seeking a “mid-sized acquisition” which has access to technology that can be used in the conglomerate’s other operations. Already, nearly 50% of the group’s revenue comes from overseas, Birla said in the interview.
The Aditya Birla group controls the country’s largest cement maker Ultratech and the world’s largest rolled aluminum producer Novelis. The group’s flagship company Hindalco is one of India’s largest aluminum producers.
Falling production of natural gas in India has forced fertiliser and power producers to import natural gas, which is pushing up costs. Fertiliser companies, in particular, have been affected as prices
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