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Mallya shrugs off winding up petitions against UBHL

Bangalore, Sep 12, 2013, DHNS: 22:42 IST

Banks had moved court for Rs 6,203 crore

UB Holdings (UBHL) Chairman Vijay Mallya said that he wasn't perturbed by cases filed by various petitioners to wind up the company for its alleged failure to honour guarantees given by it on behalf of UB group's failed aviation venture, Kingfisher Airlines (KFA).

“There are five winding-up petitions filed before the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore. Out of these, we have serious counter-claims against three, which basically leaves two, with whom we are in dialogue for out-of-court settlement,” he told reporters after the conclusion of the 97th annual general meeting of UBHL here on Thursday.

It may be recalled that a consortium of 14 banks that had lent money to KFA had filed a petition in July this year at the Karnataka High Court, Bangalore, seeking to restrain UBHL from disbursing the amount it had realised from sale of 13.61 crore shares of another group United Spirits to UK liquor company Diageo as part of the November 2012 deal.

The consortium had said that it had to recover Rs 6,203 crore from KFA and UBHL. UBHL had executed corporate guarantees on behalf of KFA. Earlier, during the AGM, he told shareholders lenders have initiated claims against UBHL on “dubious” grounds, a veiled reference to their invoking corporate guarantees given by the company.

On roping in investors for KFA, he was vague in his response. “Talks are on with potential investors,” he said at the AGM, something that he said during KFA's annual general meeting last year. Mallya also said that residential project of UBHL.

A note put up by Kotak Securities said UBHL is entitled to 55 per cent share of the super built area and the luxury residential project is expected to be completed by 2015.
While declining to comment on how many flats have been sold, Mallya conceded that the rates have come down from Rs 30,000 per sq ft to about Rs 24,000 in the recent past, reflecting softening of real estate prices as a result of economic downtrend.

On fears of him losing control of stake due to rival fertiliser companies Zuari and Deepak picking up large stakes in another UB group company Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilisers (MCF), Mallya said, “I can't stop people from buying shares. But, we are fully in control of MCF and intend to be so.”

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