LafargeHolcim Bangladesh Ltd has closed its aggregates business again on Wednesday after the Chamber Judge on Tuesday stayed the High Court's previous judgment of allowing the cement-maker to continue its aggregates business.
The Chamber Judge passed the stay order based on a Civil Miscellaneous Petition (CMP) that was filed by the Ministry of Industries against the HC's judgment.
The company confirmed the closing of its aggregates crushing and selling business on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website on Wednesday.
On that day, Lafarge's share price fell by 0.88% to close at Tk78.9 per share at the DSE compared to the previous session.
The legal battle
In mid-September 2021, the Ministry of Industries directed LafargeHolcim to stop its aggregates business citing the lack of needed approval.
The company challenged the legality of the ministry's directive and on 11 October, the HC issued a rule against the ministry.
On 16 November, the Division Bench heard the matter and passed a one-month stay order against the ministry's directive.
The company started its aggregates business once again after the stay order.
But the next day, the ministry went to the Appellate Division. A Chamber Bench, upon hearing the parties, again stayed the Division Bench's stay order for two weeks. The company once again had to stop its aggregates business.
Eventually, LafargeHolcim having won the HC judgment on 5 January continued its aggregates business, right after securing the approval, till Tuesday.
The aggregates business disputes
Before the ministry's directive, a high-powered government committee found that LafargeHolcim was crushing aggregates at an unapproved facility in Chhatak, Sunamganj.
The ministry launched its investigation based on the complaints of local aggregates crushers and merchants that the company was doing business with unfair advantages in taxes and duties.
LafargeHolcim Bangladesh began crushing and selling aggregates in January 2021, and its profits began to soar with high margins of profit in the construction commodity.
Analysts earlier told The Business Standard that their aggregates business was contributing to around one-fifth of LafargeHolcim's revenue for the first nine months of 2021, and making up at least one-third of the company's profits over the same period.
The company posted Tk2.66 in earnings per share for the January-September period of 2021, which was Tk1.29 for the same timeframe in the previous year.