Poddar claims to have right of first refusal to Mallya's MCF stake

Last Updated: Fri, Jul 12, 2013 20:41 hrs

The battle for Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers (MCF) has got a new twist. Adventz Group’s Chairman Saroj Poddar has claimed to have the right of first refusal for Vijay Mallya’s shares in the company.

Poddar said he had a meeting with “dear friend” Mallya, chairman of MCF, in London on Thursday. Later, he told Business Standard he had this right of first refusal according to the agreement between the two earlier this year. “I have the document stating (this) clearly. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bought even one per cent in MCF. I met Vijay in London and we are in constant touch on how to take this forward,” he said.

Poddar was to buy MCF from Mallya under a friendly takeover in A pril. He has taken his stake up to 16 per cent, after two days of buying via his Zuari Fertilisers. But the takeover might turn into a corporate battle as S C Mehta of Deepak Fertilisers suddenly entered the fray and purchased 24.46 per cent in MCF earlier this month. A shareholding of 25 per cent triggers a mandatory open offer, according to takeover rules.

MCF is part of Mallya’s UB Group, though the latter now has only 21 per cent in the company. UB Group’s holding had been pledged with lenders to pay for its other loans.

The MCF stock dazzled on the BSE after the takeover battle buzz got louder. The scrip hit a high of Rs 70.05 on Friday, up 3.2 per cent, extending its 25 per cent rally over the past four days.

Poddar is confident of a friendly takeover of MCF and said all the moves that might come in the days ahead would be in co-ordination with Mallya. “We discussed how we could resolve the current situation. Board berth is not the real issue here and we have to look at the larger picture,” he added.  

Soon after buying into MCF in April, Poddar had said he was keen to take it over. But Deepak Fertilisers’ entry on July 3 had upset this plan.

The Deepak Fertilisers team is likely to meet Mallya, an official said. Analysts are expecting a tough battle between Mehta and Poddar.

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