Mallya plans autumn float for Cementone

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The Independent Online
VIJAY MALLYA, the chairman and largest shareholder of United Breweries, the regional brewer and pubs operator, is planning a stock market flotation of his UK building materials interests this autumn.

The plan concerns Cementone Beaver, the Buckingham-based cement additives and consumer paints maker, whose directors include Roger Regan, recently appointed as chairman of Spring Ram, the troubled kitchen sinks and bathrooms group.

Cementone's flotation is being masterminded by John East, the corporate finance boutique, and could value the group at about pounds 40m at launch.

Although a final decision has yet to be taken, sources say the flotation plans are advanced. The Indian-born entreprenuer is thought to have considered reversing Cementone into a quoted company, but this option has been ruled out for the time being.

Mr Mallya took charge of United Breweries last October after his family- controlled UB Group, India's biggest drinks concern, bought 16 per cent of Wiltshire Brewery and changed its name. The company, which last week reported a pounds 189,000 first-half loss to 31 May, is being used as a European vehicle for the Indian group.

Mr Mallya acquired Cementone in 1988 for about pounds 12m from CH Industrial, the industrial conglomerate that subsequently went into receivership.

Cementone's UK plant produces a range of building products including own-label paints and wood preservatives for builders' merchants in the UK. It made an estimated taxable profit of pounds 3m on sales of pounds 40m last year. Cementone is also closely linked to Mr Mallya's other building interests, which include rights to the Crown and Berger paint brands in 22 countries in Africa and the Far and Middle East. These businesses, acquired from Williams Holdings, are managed from the UK. It is unclear whether they will be consolidated into Cementone ahead of the flotation.

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