September 11, 2013 / 1:07 PM / in 4 years

CORRECTED-India's Jaiprakash to sell cement unit to UltraTech

(Corrects capacity to 4.8 million tonnes from 4.9 million tonnes in second paragraph)

MUMBAI, Sept 11 (Reuters) - India’s Jaiprakash Associates Ltd has agreed to sell its cement plant in India’s Gujarat state to UltraTech Cement Ltd for an enterprise value of 38 billion rupees ($594 million) in an attempt to lower its debt.

UltraTech’s capacity will rise to 59 million tonnes after the acquisition of the unit, which has a capacity of 4.8 million tonnes, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of UltraTech, said in a statement.

The company expects the transaction to close in seven to nine months.

Debt-laden Jaiprakash Associates, which also has interests in power and infrastructure, has been trying to sell its Gujarat cement plant for more than a year and was in talks with several potential buyers, including Ireland’s CRH.

Rising input and energy costs have been squeezing margins at cement companies, while demand remains a worry amid a weakening economy and high interest rates, which have slowed housing and infrastructure development in Asia’s third-largest economy.

$1 = 63.9575 Indian rupees Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy and Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee

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