Late last week, lenders to Kingfisher Airlines sold 400,000 shares of United Spirits Ltd (USL) pledged with them, at about Rs 2,600 a share, for a total of about Rs 104 crore (Rs one billion).
However, it couldn’t be ascertained who had acquired these shares, which were offloaded in the open market.
The share of promoter Vijay Mallya and his companies in USL has fallen to 9.83 per cent from 10.91 per cent at the end of December 2013.
Diageo, the global spirits major that had acquired a strategic 25.03 per cent stake in USL in July 2013, has been active in the open market, acquiring additional stake.
As of March-end 2014, its stake stood at 28.78 per cent. Earlier, Diageo had intended to acquire 53 per cent stake in USL.
The move by lenders to Kingfisher Airlines to sell USL shares comes days after they had said they, they SBI Capital Trustee, were looking for buyers for Kingfisher Airlines and its associate brands and trademarks that were pledged with them.
The lenders are trying everything in their power to get back as much as possible of the Rs 6,300 crore ( Rs 63 billion) of dues from the airline, which had stopped operations about 18 months ago.
On Wednesday, USL shares closed at Rs 2,597.75, down 0.66 per cent on the National Stock Exchange.