Birla, Adani pull no punches in battle for cement supremacy

Companies controlled by the two billionaires are engaged in a high-stakes contest for market share. While Adani wants to be No. 1, can he topple Birla from the summit?

In June-end, Kumar Mangalam Birla-led UltraTech Cement picked up a 23% stake in Chennai-based India Cements for Rs 1,889 crore. The stake—purchased in two block deals from DMart founder and ace investor Radhakishan Damani and family—makes UltraTech the second biggest shareholder in the company, second only to the promoter family led by N. Srinivasan, which holds 28.42%. 

UltraTech, the largest cement producer in the country, chose to play down the deal, calling it a “non-controlling financial investment”. But few bought the explanation. 

“It’s a waiting game,” says a senior executive from the industry, requesting anonymity. “Birla wants to acquire India …


Prince M. Thomas

Prince leads the newsroom at The Morning Context as managing editor. A fascination with the written word has taken Prince to some of the leading newsrooms across the country, including The Economic Times, Dow Jones Newswires, Forbes India and Moneycontrol. In a career spanning 20 years, Prince has led teams, managed pages, projects and special editions, and has authored The Consolidators, published by Penguin Random House in 2017.

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