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Kumar Birla takes over as Vice Chairman of Century Textiles


Kumar Mangalam Birla
In a move widely perceived as the formal takeover ofby the Aditya Birla group, the board of the company has appointed Kumar Mangalam Birla as its Vice Chairman with immediate effect. Kumar is grandson of company's chairman BK Birla.

The company's stock was trading flat at Rs 552 a share. Kumar's mother Rajshree Birla is also a director on the company's board and joined the board in May this year. The move was a foregone conclusion as had made it clear that Kumar will takeover the company from him.

Apart from textiles, Century has a sprawling cement business which, analysts believe, will be ultimately merged with Aditya Birla group owned Ultratech. Ultratech is India's biggest cement company with 67.7 million tonnes per annum of capacity.  BK Birla group companies  -- Century Textiles has 12.8 million tonnes of cement capacity while Kesoram Industries has 7.25 million tonnes.

The Aditya Birla group have also increased their stakes in Century Textiles to 50 per cent from 45 per cent after conversion of a preferential offer of shares issued to the promoters in July 2014. BK Birla is unwell and is currently living in Mumbai.

In a note dated April 14, global brokerage firm Credit Suisse had said Ultratech could improve the profitability of BK Birla’s cement assets by 50 per cent and a merger with Ultratech would be a win-win deal for all stakeholders. Approval by the Competition Commission of India for the deal might be needed in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

According to a plan prepared by Axis Capital, Century Textiles and Kesoram Industries could merge their cement units with Ultratech in an all-stock transaction. The Birlas have not confirmed this plan.

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