Anil Ambani said to seek US$756 million value for cement plants

MUMBAI (BLOOMBERG) - Billionaire Anil Ambani's Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. is seeking to sell its cement assets for an enterprise value of about 50 billion rupees (S$1.06 billion) in a deal expected to be announced by year end, people familiar with the matter said.

The company is in talks with cement makers as well as private equity firms including Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group LP, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Reliance expects to get 26 billion rupees from the sale with the buyer taking over 24 billion rupee of debt, one of the people said.

Mr Ambani's group has been announcing deals to sell assets across its companies to pare debt and expand defense manufacturing, its newest business. Reliance Communications Ltd. this month said it's selling phone towers and property in Mumbai. The yield on Reliance Communications' 2020 dollar bonds slumped 62 basis points this quarter and its shares jumped 27 percent. 

Reliance Infrastructure has shortlisted seven potential buyers and seeks to complete the sale by Dec. 31, the company said in an e-mail response to queries. The company will sell cement plants with an annual capacity of 5.6 million tons, according to the e-mail. Spokesmen for Carlyle and Blackstone declined to comment.

The assets are in Reliance Cement Company Pvt., a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure that had a total debt of 257.7 billion rupees on consolidated basis, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It has cement plants in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, according to information on its website.

In November, Reliance Infrastructure said it was selling 49 percent stake in its power transmission business in Mumbai to Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board.