Poddar makes Rs 282-cr open offer for MCFL

MCFL ropes in UB Group chief Vijay Mallya's stepmother

Poddar makes Rs 282-cr open offer for MCFL

Upping the ante against Deepak Fertilisers in the race for acquiring Mangalore Chemicals and Fertiliser Ltd (MCFL), key shareholder Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd on Thursday made an open offer to acquire up to 3,07,00,000 shares of MCFL at an offer price of Rs 91.92 per share.

The offer constitutes 25.90 per cent of the fully diluted voting equity share capital of MCFL with the total offer size totalling Rs 282.19 crore, Zuari said in a filing to market regulator Sebi. A public announcement of open offer was issued on Thursday by ICICI Securities Limited which will be the manager to the offer.

Saroj Poddar-controlled Zuari Group submitted that the open offer is a voluntary offer under Regulation 6 of the Sebi Takeover Regulations. This open offer is not subject to any minimum ceiling.

As of November this year, Zuari Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd held 16.47 per cent stake in MCFL, while partner United Breweries Holdings Ltd owned 15.05 per cent. Vijay Mallya’s UB Group holds another 2.01 per cent in MCFL through an entity called Kingfisher Finvest India Ltd.

Mumbai-based Deepak Fertiliser, which is Zuari’s key rival in the long-running acquisition battle for MCFL, currently holds about 32 per cent in MCFL.

Under Sebi’s takeover regulations, any promoter company holding more than 15 per cent can trigger an open offer to raise its stakeholding in the promotee company.

The battle for MCFL between Deepak Fertilisers and the Zuari Group-UB combine intensified in September this year after Deepak Fertilisers raised its open offer price for MCFL to Rs 93.60 per share.

Zuari and the UB Group responded by revising their open offer price to Rs 81.60 per share. The race to control MCFL had been triggered in April 2013 when Zuari Group bought about 10 per cent stake in MCFL through the open market. Later, Deepak Fertilisers acquired 24.46 per cent in MCFL in July 2013.

The Zuari Group subsequently increased its stake to 16.43 per cent the same month. In April 2014, Deepak Fertilisers further hiked its shareholding in MCFL to 25.31 per cent.

The Zuari Group along with UB Group needs about 12 per cent additional stake in MCFL to take control of the company while Deepak Fertilisers would require another about 25 per cent. Shares of MCFL closed higher by 0.06 per cent at Rs 86.40 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Ritu appointed

In a swift move after the exit of Vijay Mallaya from UB group firm MCFL, the fertiliser company on Thursday announced appointment of his step-mother Ritu Mallya as a director of the firm.

In a corporate filing to the BSE on Thursday, Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (MCFL) said, “The company’s Board of Directors has appointed Mrs Ritu Mallya as a Director of the Company with immediate effect.”

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