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Bain-Backed Group Is Said to Submit Highest Bid for Binani

Bhuma Shrivastava, George Smith Alexander, Anto Antony
Bags of Binani cement sit in a shop in Gurgaon, India, on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007. ACC Ltd., India's biggest cementmaker by capacity, said September sales rose 11 percent. The company sold 1.55 million tons of the building material last month, compared with 1.4 million tons in the same period a year earlier.

An investor group led by Dalmia Bharat Ltd., with backing from Bain Capital, submitted the highest bid for India’s Binani Cement Ltd., which is being sold under the country’s insolvency process, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Dalmia Bharat consortium made a final offer of more than 63 billion rupees ($978 million), according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. That topped the proposal from Indian billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s UltraTech Cement Ltd., which bid just above 62 billion rupees, the people said.

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While Dalmia Bharat offered the most money, there’s no certainty its bid will be selected as the best offer, according to the people. UltraTech, which is India’s biggest cement manufacturer, scored higher on some other evaluation criteria, the people said. A decision on the winning bidder could be made within the next week, one of the people said.

Shares of Binani Industries Ltd., the parent company of Binani Cement, were up 3.4 percent at 10:20 a.m. on Monday in Mumbai, while Dalmia Bharat rose 0.8 percent. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.5 percent.

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A new Indian bankruptcy law designed to clear out distressed assets has set off a contest for more than 4 trillion rupees of deals and has spurred interest from both foreign and domestic companies and funds.

Representatives for Aditya Birla Group, which controls UltraTech, and Dalmia Bharat declined to comment. A representative for Binani Cement didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular Indian business hours.

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Dalmia Bharat made a joint offer with India Resurgence Fund, which is backed by Bain Capital Credit and local conglomerate Piramal Enterprises Ltd., the people said. Both the Dalmia Bharat consortium and UltraTech offered around a 20 percent stake to Binani Cement creditors, the people said.

Updates with share movements in fourth paragraph.

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