Dalmia Cement withdraws appeal against Lafarge-Holcim deal

Byszheng

Updated Tue, 10 May 2016 11:22:56 GMT

Dalmia Cement has withdrawn the appeal filed before the competition tribunal against transfer of Lafarge's assets as approved by the Competition Commission, clearing the way for the merger of Lafarge and Holcim in India.

Last month, the Competition Appellate Tribunal had stayed the divestment of certain assets of Lafarge to address anti-competitive concerns for completion of deal with Holcim. The stay came on a plea filed by Dalmia Cement. 

In the wake of the amended Mines & Mineral (Development & Regulation) Act, Dalmia Cement today said it is withdrawing the appeal filed before the tribunal.

The company said various industry associations represented to the government, seeking further amendment in the Act to allow transfer of at least captive mineral concessions -- both Prospecting Licenses & Mining Leases -- for business continuity. 

"However, the Act passed by Parliament recently allows only transfer of Mining Leases used for captive purposes. It does not enable Prospecting Licenses to be transferred which we had hoped would be permitted. 

"Accordingly, in many cases, it is not commercially prudent to make efforts to acquire assets without such prospecting licenses of limestone. Therefore, we have withdrawn from our appeal before the Competition Appellate Tribunal regarding our opposition to the transfer of Lafarge assets," the company said in a statement. 

The request has been granted by the tribunal today, it added. 

Swiss major Holcim and French entity Lafarge had merged their operations globally but for India, CCI had called for divestment of certain assets to address anti-competition issues. 

In this regard, CCI had passed an order in March 2015 and later in February this year, it cleared a revised divestment proposal of LafargeHolcim. Following an appeal by Dalmia Cement against the February order, Compat had stayed implementation of the same in April. 

According to the statement, the Indian mineral sector is guided by the Mines & Mineral (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957. An amendment in 2015 introduced the process of auctioning for natural resources, creating District Mineral Funds and National Mineral Exploration Trust. 

"However, this restricted the mergers and acquisition activities of mineral based industries, as it barred the transfer of mineral concession not acquired through the auction process," it added.

The eight selected teams include companies that have plans of building a sustainable community marketplace that connects urban India to rural Bharat by solving food and water crisis, another one that is a customized logistic solutions provider for merchants, a third one that offers a network of clinics that provide technology-enabled healthcare services to patients, at the same time helping increase revenues for the doctors. Others include those offering offline recharges and bill payments, mobile marketing, solar panels and digital bus depots. 

About Dalmia Bharat Group: 

Dalmia Bharat Group is a prominent player in India's core manufacturing sector. With a turnover of over 7000 crore, it has a strong and growing presence in Cement, Sugar, Refractories and Power since 1939. A leader in the specialty cements space and the country's largest producer of slag cement, Dalmia Bharat has a significant presence in generic sugar, with a nationwide presence. It caters to an enduring and growing customer base in refractories and has interests in sustainable power/energy.