Lafarge Exits Race For Idcol Cement

Bhubaneswar, July 29: | Updated: Jul 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
French cement major Lafarge is out of the race for Idcol Cement Ltd, leaving only Orissa Cement Ltd (OCL) and Associated Cement Companies (ACC) in the fray. The financial bids of OCL and ACC opened on Monday.

Top officials involved in the disinvestment process told FE that Lafarges technical bid was found unacceptable. Most of the terms in the bid were conditional, the officials said.

The Orissa government had decided to privatise Idcol Cement last year. It holds 72 per cent equity stake in the company through Idcol and UTI has about 28 per cent. International consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT) was appointed advisor to the disinvestment process.

In the first instance, the Orissa government found the technical bids of all the three shortlisted companies unacceptable. However, following advice from the state advocate general, it asked the three to revise their bids. ACC and OCL obliged but Lafarge, reportedly, refused.

The officials did not disclose anything about the financial bids of ACC and OCL since, they said, it would prejudice the bargaining process.

Idcol Cement, which was incorporated in 1993 as a separate subsidiary to take over Hira Cement Works (HCW), then a division of Idcol, incurred a cumulative loss of Rs 123 crore till 2001-02. It has a market share of 20 to 22 per cent in the eastern region.