Sharp rise in Gujarat Ambuja trading volumes, share price Market buzz on Holcim interest

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Jayanta Mallick
Kohinoor Mandal

Kolkata, Jan. 4

A SIGNIFICANT spurt in traded volumes and price in Gujarat Ambuja Cement shares on the stock exchanges has given rise to market speculation that Swiss cement major Holcim could be accumulating the stock.

The stock logged a traded quantity of over one crore shares on the NSE, highest since April 13, 2005, and on the BSE it was 41.63 lakh today. These volumes were without any reported block deals. The stock gained by over 8 per cent to close at Rs 87.75 on the BSE.

Market sources contend that Holcim is slowly picking up shares following an understanding with the existing promoters, the Sekhsaria-Neotia families. The sources insist that Indian promoters do not consider Holcim's move as a "hostile" act.

Mr Narottam Sekhsaria, Managing Director of Gujarat Ambuja Cement, was not available for comment but Mr J. Doshi, Vice-President (Treasury) and Mr Anil Singhvi, Executive Director (Finance), discounted any such interest by the Swiss cement major, when contacted by

Business Line


Sources privy to the Gujarat Ambuja-Holcim association also dismissed today, rumours of stock accumulation by Holcim , holding that it is unlikely for Holcim to consider an entry into Gujarat Ambuja at this juncture.

Holcim, they held, is yet to reinforce its presence in ACC Ltd in which it does not own majority stake yet, though it has acquired the status of promoter. Holcim has too much on its plate to consider a stake in another huge entity at this point, said the sources.

Holcim and Gujarat Ambuja's strategic relationship started a year ago in January 2005, when the global major formed an alliance with the Sekhsarias. Subsequent to it, Ambuja Cement India Ltd (a holding company) became a 67:33 joint venture between Holcim and Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd.

Ambuja Cements India Ltd does not hold a single share of Gujarat Ambuja Cement Ltd. Instead it holds controlling stakes of 97 per cent and 50 per cent in Ambuja Cement Eastern Ltd (earlier known as Modi Cement Ltd) and ACC Ltd respectively.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 5, 2006)
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