Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) works for Asbestos Free India inspired by trade union leader Purnendu Majumadar. Occupational Health India and ToxicsWatch Alliance are its members that includes doctors, researchers and activists. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. It works with trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. For Details:1715krishna@gmail.com, oshindia@yahoo.in

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

BANI appreciates Holcim's Asbestos Position

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) appreciates Swiss cement major Holcim's submission regarding asbestos before the Securities Appellate Tribunal following imposition of Rs 25-crore penalty by Securities & Exchange Board of India.

The fact that ACC held a 76 per cent stake in Everest Industries makes both the companies guilty of knowingly exposing human beings to asbestos that constitutes a blatant case of human rights violation. Asbestos banned in 50 countries, claims 30 lives/day in India.

Securities Appellate Tribunal sets aside Sebi penalty on cement major Holcim


The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today set aside the Rs 25-crore penalty imposed by capital markets regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Swiss cement major Holcim for its failure to comply with the takeover regulations during its acquisition of ACC stake last year.

This was the biggest monetary penalty imposed by Sebi on any corporate entity.

In its August 2006 order, Sebi had said that Holcim had violated takeover guidelines as it failed to come out with an open offer for Everest Industries, in which ACC held a 76 per cent stake.

Holcim had directly bought a 13.82 per cent stake in ACC from Ambuja Cement India, and subsequently scaled up its stake to 34.72 per cent through an open offer. This triggered the takeover code in Everest Industries, a listed entity, but the Swiss cement-maker did not comply with this rule, said Sebi. The Sebi order had asked Holcim to pay the penalty within 45 days. However, the company filed appeal before SAT against the Sebi order.

The matter dates back to January 2005 when the Swiss MNC acquired a 67 per cent stake in Ambuja Cement India, which held stake in ACC. Subsequently, Holcim, along with persons acting in concert (PAC), made an open offer to raise its combined holding in ACC to 52 per cent.

Since ACC held a 76 per cent stake in Everest Industries, it was alleged that the Holcim's acquisition of ACC led to its indirect control of Everest.

However, Holcim countered the allegation by saying Everest was in an unrelated business of asbestos and the MNC did not plan to enter this segment in India.

Holcim had globally divested non-core assets worth $1.25 billion in four years beginning 2002. In its submissions before Sebi, Holcim said it did not want to manufacture products using asbestos in India as part of its global strategy.

May 30, 2008, Business Standard


India's Sterlite to buy US copper miner Asarco assets
sans asbestos liabilities


NEW DELHI (AP) — The U.S. copper mining company Asarco LLC will sell virtually all its operating assets to Sterlite Industries (India) Limited for $2.6 billion in cash, Sterlite said.

Tucson, Ariz.-based Asarco, formerly known as American Smelting and Refining Company, is the third-largest copper producer in the United States.

Sterlite is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, a London-based FTSE 100 metal and mining group.

The assets being acquired include three open-pit copper mines and a copper smelter in Arizona, as well as a copper refinery, rod and cake plant and precious metals facility in Texas, the company said.

The two companies have signed an agreement on the deal, which is still subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Sterlite said.

Asarco is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, which include the question of who is in charge of the company — the Mexican mining giant Grupo Mexico, which bought Asarco in 1999; or Asarco LLC, a board of creditors who claim Grupo Mexico bought Asarco only to strip it of its assets.

Sterlite said it will assume operating liabilities, but not Asarco's liabilities for asbestos and other environmental claims for closed operations. Asarco faces huge liabilities — estimated in the billions of dollars — for the cleanup of polluted mine sites and waterways and in asbestos claims.

Asarco has assumed responsibility at more than 100 sites across the United States for environmental claims and has been settling with states and the federal government over the past year. It is required to settle or liquidate the claims before it can emerge from bankruptcy protection.

"We are delighted to have reached agreement on this important acquisition, which is a significant milestone for our group," Sterlite's Chairman Anil Agarwal said.

The statement quoted Asarco's President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Lapinsky as saying the agreement was a giant step forward in Asarco's quest to successfully emerge from Chapter 11.

"The sale will achieve the overall best value for Asarco, its employees, creditors and the local communities in which we operate," Lapinsky said.

Asarco produced 259,043 tons of refined copper in 2007. It had total revenues of nearly $1.9 billion for the year ending December 2007, the statement said.

Sterlite said it would finance the asset acquisition through a mix of debt and existing cash resources.

By ASHOK SHARMA – May 31, 2008

Associated Press

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