Mallya says ready to buy MCF stake from Zuari, Deepak Fertilisers

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 25, 2013 05:03 hrs

UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya on Tuesday said he was ready to buy stakes from Zuari Chemicals and Deepak Fertilisers in Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (MCF), reiterating his stand on retaining control of the UB Group company.

Deepak Fertilisers and Zuari have been repeatedly purchasing shares of MCF in the open market. However, Mallya asserted he had received assurances from the two firms that they would not attempt a hostile takeover of the firm.

Deepak Fertilisers, with a current stake just shy of the 25 per cent required to trigger an open offer, is not expected to increase its stake without Mallya's consent. Saroj Poddar of Zuari Chemicals, which holds about 16 per cent of MCF, has said it increased its stake in the firm on an assurance from Mallya that he would part with his stake.

However, Mallya said MCF had the means to buy out the stakes, should Zuari or Deepak Fertilisers be willing to sell.

"I intend to keep MCF within the UB Group fold. We are not sellers and if either Saroj Poddar of Zuari Chemicals or Shailesh bhai of Deepak Fertilisers wish to sell their stakes, we would be happy to buy that stake in MCF," Mallya told reporters after the annual general meeting of the company here.

He, however, did not specify how would he mobilise the required resources to buy back the shares of MCF. "If we did not have means to buy the stake, we would not have offered to buy back their stake in the company," he said.

Asked about his agreement with Saroj Poddar on parting his stake in MCF to the latter, Mallya said: "I respect Mr Poddar very much to enter into a media debate about what he said and what he did not say. Suffice it to say, I have told him as well as Shaileshbhai of Deepak Fertilisers that I intend to keep MCF within the UB Group fold."

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