Lafarge, Cemex, Italcementi In Race For CCI Plants

New Delhi, Aug 25: | Updated: Aug 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
Global major Lafarge, Italcementi and Cemex are in the race for ailing Cement Corporation of Indias (CCI) plants, whose final bids have been rescheduled because of delay in due diligence.

A total of 13 companies including global cement major Lafarge, Italcementi and Cemex are in the race for CCI units, sources said.

These companies visited CCI plants for spot assessment before quoting final price bid for each plant. However, Bokajan plant in Assam could not be visited by any of the interested parties as the employees are opposing the move to sell the profit-making unit.

The final bids for CCI sale as a whole or individual units were earlier scheduled for August 31, which have been now rescheduled for October 25.

The rescheduling has been done because of delay in due diligence and finalisation of the contract documents, sources pointed out. When contacted, CCI officials confirmed the rescheduling of the date for final bids. Merchant banker SBI Capital has taken the rescheduling decision, they said and added CCI management had nothing to do with the change in bids date as IFCI is the operating agency for the sale process.

They also confirmed that the interested parties could not visit Bokajan unit due to strong opposition from the employees. CCI had offered voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and rolled back retirement age for cutting down its flab in order to make itself attractive to potential buyers. With this strategy, the company was able to bring down its labour force by 40 per cent to 2,752 as on July 31, 2002 from 4,573 on April 1, 2001. The ailing cement giant is currently in the process of offering last tranche of VRS.

Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) referred CCI was able to cut down net loss to Rs 227.33 crore in 2001-02 from Rs 230.76 crore in 2000-01.

CCI has ten plants of which seven are closed while three plants at Bokajan, Rajban (HP), Tandur (AP) are operational.

PTI