India: In a clear move away from its traditional engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business, Shriram EPC, part of the financial services major Shriram Group, is ready to pick up a majority stake in Sree Jayajothi Cement. The company's board approved picking up a significant equity share capital of Sree Jayajothi by partially converting the dues owned by Sree Jaya Jothi into equity.
Shriram EPC, which provided EPC services to the latter's cement plant at Yanakandala village in Andhra Pradesh, has invested its own money for the project. Shriram EPC hopes to complete the deal by mid-April 2012, according to its managing director and CEO, T Shivaraman.
"For us it is a strategic move," explained Shivaraman. "For the group it is a diversification to get into the cement business. This move will have long term benefits for us. Since Sree Jayajothi could not return the money that we invested over the years, we thought it fit to convert the dues into equity. We are converting part of the dues into equity and it will be for majority stake."
Sree Jayajothi has been struggling to find a suitable investment partner for its cement business, with repayment so far taking longer than expected. Over recent years Shriram EPC has invested over US$100m in the plant.