United Breweries Ltd. (UB), the beer maker, has clarified that the “Kingfisher” brand has not been pledged with banks towards collateral. Rather, the “Kingfisher Airlines” brand, valued at Rs.4,100 crore by Grant Thornton in April, 2010, was hypothecated with the banks, which claim that they could recover their money by liquidating the pledged assets, including the brand.

Kingfisher Airlines was launched in May 2005.

“This has reference to the reports in a section of the newspaper/media relating to recall of loans by lenders by invoking securities, including the brand “Kingfisher”. We wish to bring to your attention that United Breweries Ltd. is the owner of brand “Kingfisher” registered under the respective trademark classes pertaining to alcoholic beverages. The brand “Kingfisher” has not been hypothecated / pledged by United Breweries to any lender to secure its loans,” UB said in a filing with the stock exchanges. “There has also been some speculation as to whether shares in United Breweries are pledged to the lenders of Kingfisher Airlines. We wish to clarify that no shares of the company are so pledged,” UB added. With these clarifications, analysts believe that banks would recover very little considering their exposure of over Rs.7,000 crore to Kingfisher.

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