The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cement shares hog limelight

Mumbai, June 18: The mega deal between L&T and Grasim announced yesterday has set cement scrips on fire with Grasim leading the rally. The AV Birla group flagship gained almost 12.8 per cent to close at a seven-year high of Rs 458.35 as the deal is expected to make it the country’s largest cement manufacturer with a total capacity of 31 million tonnes.

“It is consolidation time in the fragmented cement market,” an analyst said. Apart from Grasim and CemCo, the other top cement player in the cement market is the Gujarat Ambuja-ACC combine.

Together, the two combines will help in stabilising cement prices which are currently wracked by price-cuts and oversupply. “The unofficial cement cartel will get some legitimacy,” the analyst added.

Associated Cement Companies — the leader till the Grasim-CemCo deal crystallises, also rose sharply today. ACC gained 5.3 per cent to Rs 161.50 and its partner, Gujarat Ambuja, gained an inch by closing at 194.10, a measly 0.1 per cent more than the previous day’s close.

However, the L&T share fell 0.7 per cent to Rs 237.70. Marketmen said this happened because the suspense built up over the past few months has been cleared.

While cement shares hogged the limelight today, it was a phase of correction in several shares that vaulted yesterday.

As a result, the 30-share BSE sensex, which gained 94 points yesterday, had a tame ending.

The BSE sensex closed down 0.07 points at 3430.96 points after finishing at a 14-month high on Tuesday.

It was a close finish as gainers just managed to overtake losers by 797 to 781 shares that closed in the negative territory.

Digital GlobalSoft was the other major gainer today after its chief Som Mittal reiterated a very positive outlook for the company. The scrip rose 10.7 per cent to Rs 429.70 — a gain of Rs 41.50.

The other gainers were ACC, BSES, HDFC, HPCL, Hindalco, ITC, Nestle, Telco and Tisco. By virtue of their weightage on the BSE sensex, the market's barometer closed in the positive.

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