In order to expand its footprint, cement-maker Star Cement will go for acquisitions in South India if the company finds opportunities at the right valuation. This is because valuation of cement assets could be lower in this region, compared to the other parts of the country.

With the highest number of regional players and highest installed cement capacity, the south region is the most fragmented and a highly competitive market for the country’s cement industry.

“We have to find a target [for acquisition], which is suitable to our appetite. We are open to all the areas. Obviously, the southern market is a more glut market. So, if we find any opportunity there at a right valuation, only then will we go for it,” Star Cement CEO Vinit Kumar Tiwari, told businessline.

“The next set of consolidation in the industry should be in the southern market because this market is quite fragmented and players are operating at a very low capacity utilisation,” said Tiwari, adding that valuation of assets will be lower in South India compared to the other parts of the country.

Star Cement, a leading cement company in North-Eastern India, is also open to acquisition opportunities in Central, northern and western regions.

The company has an installed capacity of around 5.7 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), with plants in Meghalaya, Assam, and West Bengal.

It has embarked on brownfield and greenfield projects to expand the production capacity to close to 9.7 MTPA by financial year 2025-26, with a total capital expenditure of around ₹2,200 crore.

“The expansion projects were taken up around one-an-half years ago. It includes expansion of clinkerisation unit, which comes at the same place where the company has existing clinker unit in Meghalaya. It is expected to get operational by March next year,” said Tiwari on the sidelines of ‘Cementing India’ event in Kolkata organised by ICC.

A brownfield grinding unit expansion project in Guwahati is expected to be operational by January, 2024. “The company has already acquired land in Silchar (in Assam) for a greenfield project, which should be operational in FY26,” said Tiwari, adding that out of the capital expenditure of around ₹2,200 crore, around ₹900-1,000 crore has already been invested.

The cement maker has recently won an auction of a limestone mine under composite licence in Chhattisgarh. It will be looking for more such opportunities across India.

On Friday, the company’s scrip ended 0.15 per cnet up at ₹164.40 on the BSE.