A UAE-based subsidiary of UltraTech Cement – India’s largest cement manufacturer – has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Omani-owned Duqm Cement Projects International -- a move that will contribute to an uptick in limestone exports to the subcontinent.

Publicly traded UltraTech Cement said in a filing to the BSE, India’s leading stock exchange based in Mumbai, that UltraTech Cement Middle East Investments – a wholly-owned subsidiary of its parent company Aditya Birla Group – had entered into a share purchase agreement with Oman-based Seven Seas Company LLC covering the acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in Duqm Cement Projects International.

Duqm Cement Projects International was initially set up by Seven Seas Company, among other investors, to establish a major cement grinding project in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD). As lead promoter, Seven Seas Company had also announced at the time that it has been prospecting for a limestone quarry to support the raw material requirements of the proposed 10,000 tonnes-per-day capacity integrated cement manufacturing project.

In its filing, UltraTech Cement said the 70 per cent stake in Duqm Cement Projects International, which owns a limestone mining lease in Duqm, was acquired at a cost of $2.25 million. The move will help secure UltraTech’s limestone requirements over the long term, it noted.

UltraTech Cement, a flagship enterprise of Indian business conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, is a $7 billion cement manufacturing giant currently ranked as the third largest cement producer in the world (outside of China). The company operates a network of around 23 integrated plants, 28 grinding units, eight bulk packaging terminals and one clinker plant, which together account for a consolidated capacity of around 127 million tonnes per annum grey cement.

Significantly, UltraTech’s investment is also expected to spur the development and export of Oman’s substantive limestone deposits which, along with gypsum, account for the bulk of industrial minerals currently being shipped out to markets in the Indian sub-continent, south-east Asia, East Africa and the Middle East.

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