Tata Chem buys U.K. company

By agencies   |   Monday, 26 December 2005, 08:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: Tata Chemicals Ltd has acquired U.K. soda ash maker Brunner Mond for $113 million, capping a year in which Indian firms spent more than $300 million on acquisitions in Britain alone.

India’s largest producer of soda ash, which makes glass, detergent and soap, said on Friday it had signed a definitive agreement to buy 63.5 percent of Brunner Mond Group Ltd from Wayland Investments Ltd and Barclays Bank. The company said the $113 million acquisition was funded through current cash balances, including funds from its latest convertible bond issue.

The acquisition could propel Tata Chemicals to among the top five soda ash makers in the world. The takeover of Brunner Mond could boost Tata Chemicals’efforts to go global after it lost out in a bid to buy Egyptian Fertilizers Company to a consortium of bidders in June.

Brunner Mond’s units are located in Northwich, Cheshire, in northern England, Delfzijl in the Netherlands, and Lake Magadi in Kenya, according to its website. Tata Chemicals did not immediately provide further details on the acquisition, which is still subject to regulatory approvals.

In the fiscal year to March 2005, soda ash contributed about 20 percent of its Rs 3000 crore in operating income.

The company also said its group revenues would touch $1 billion after this acquisition.

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