The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters fly on spin-off

Mumbai, Nov. 27: Does Grasim exercise any influence over L&T' Boardroom battles and posturing by both sides spilled into the open for the first time today when Grasim attached to its affidavit letters exchanged by the chief executives of the two companies.

Debunking Sebi’s charge that it influenced L&T to shelve plans to hive off its cement business, the Grasim counsel quoted A. M. Naik, managing director and CEO of L&T, to bolster the case that it had no say on the issue. He produced Naik’s letter, which showed the independent stand taken by the L&T management so far.

In an attempt to explain the sudden inclusion of “Discussion on the progress of restructuring of the cement business” on L&T board’s agenda, Naik wrote: “The subject of demerger has evoked a lot of interest among investors. Any development on the matter is a price-sensitive information.”

There was a feeling among the L&T top-brass that there should be a veil of secrecy on the cement demerger until there is a conclusion.

An upset Kumar Mangalam Birla shot back to Naik in another epistle where he wrote: “I received the supplementary agenda dated October 28 for the board meeting, which included restructuring of the cement business. You will appreciate that discussion on restructuring of a key business like cement merits detailed deliberation and consideration of the board.”

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