In a setback to Vijay MallyaThe Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, refused to grant any interim relief to United Breweries Holdings (UBH), which had filed a petition to prevent Kingfisher Airlines’ lenders from selling pledged shares of UB group companies.
After recalling loans, State Bank of India (SBI), which has an exposure of over Rs.1,500 crore, has started selling United Spirits Ltd. (USL) and Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd. (MCF) shares , which were pledged by the airline promoters towards collateral security.
The lenders, in fact, sold all MCF shares they held. A consortium of 14 banks, led by SBI, has lent about Rs.7,000 crore to the grounded airline, and some banks have initiated recovery proceedings. After SBI sold nearly two lakh USL pledged shares in the open market last week, UBH had moved the court seeking a restraint.
The UBL’s contention is that the company along with USL had already entered into an agreement with Diageo Plc. to sell stake in USL and any sale of pledged shares by the lenders would affect the transaction. However, the Bombay High Court did not provide any interim relief to UBH. and the matter would come up for hearing later.
On Tuesday, SBI sold 13,000 USL shares much above the open offer price of Rs.1,440. USL shares, on Tuesday, closed with a loss of 1.57 per cent at Rs.1,859.80. UBL is also contract-bound to transfer a sizable stake in USL at Rs.1,440 a share, and bulk of these shares now pledged are being sold by the lenders. The move to recover dues by lenders comes on the heels of the Finance Minister asking banks to take action against rich promoters of ailing companies.
Kingfisher pays two months' salary
After a long interval, Kingfisher Airlines on Tuesday paid two months salaries to its staff who have remained unpaid since May, 2012.
“We have released payment for June and July, 2012,” a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said.
However, several employees denied getting any payment. “No money has been credited so far,” said an employee who asked not to be named.