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Mallya loses Herbertsons battle, Kishore to make open offer
BS Bureau in Mumbai/New Delhi | August 02, 2003 08:45 IST
In a development that could give Kishore Chhabria control over Herbertsons, the Securities and Appellate Tribunal on Friday asked him to make an open offer for 20 per cent stake in the firm, recognising his 43 per cent stake in it.
The offer could result in Chhabria acquiring controlling stake in the company since Vijay Mallya, who has been battling him for control, owns around 30 per cent.
Chhabria will also get control of the Herbertsons brands. While the company owns the country's largest selling whisky brand, Bagpiper, its 100 per cent subsidiary, BDA Distillery, owns the Officer's Choice brand.
The SAT has now directed Chhabria to make a public announcement within three months at a price calculated with October 27, 1994, as reference date.
On this date, the Herbertsons scrip was traded at around Rs 53. The stock is currently trading in the range of Rs 35-40.
Chhabria has also been asked to pay interest at the rate of 15 per cent from February 24, 1995, to shareholders who have been holding the shares since January 25, 1995.
When contacted by Business Standard, Chhabria said he would be able to comment only after seeing the SAT order.
"But my shareholding in Herbertsons is over 50 per cent and not 43 per cent," he added. Mallya, on his part, declined to comment.
Today's SAT order overturned an earlier Securities and Exchange Board of India's decision, which required Mallya to reduce his holding in the company to 21.4 per cent and Chhabria to reduce his to 10 per cent through an offer for sale of shares at face value of Rs 10 each.
In Mallya's case, the SAT ordered: "Sebi has failed to establish that Mallya had acquired shares of the target company (Herbertsons) in violation of the terms of the listing agreement and the provisions of the 1994 takeover regulations. Therefore, the question of issuing directions to appellant (Mallya) to divest his shareholding in the target company (Herbertsons) to 'remedy the situation' does not arise."
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