Not ruling out a counter-offer by his Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals, Adventz Group chief Saroj Poddar on Friday said that whatever steps he takes regarding Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilisers (MCF) will be in consultation with Vijay Mallya.
Poddar said he expects to meet the UB Group chairman “next week or in next two weeks” to decide on the MCF issue. MCF has received a hostile takeover bid from Sailesh Mehta-run Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals, which announced an open offer to acquire a 26% stake in the Mallya-promoted company two days ago.
“Our merchant bankers and lawyers are now studying the matter (open offer from Deepak Fertilisers). So it will be very early to comment on a counter-offer,” Poddar told FE when asked whether Zuari Fertilisers will launch a counterbid for MCF.
At present, Poddar holds 16.43% in Mangalore Chemicals through Zuari while Deepak Fertilisers, the biggest shareholder in the firm, recently increased its stake to over 25% in the Bangalore-based firm.
Liquor baron Mallya’s UB Group, which is facing financial woes, has about 22% stake in MCF.
“We have not spoken over it. I hope to see him shortly. He is in Dubai and I cannot travel there now. So, in the next one week or two, I expect to meet him. And any step that I will take will be in consultation with him,” Poddar added.
Poddar reportedly has the first right of refusal on Mallya’s shareholding in Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilisers.
In July last year, the Adventz Group chairman said he was keen to acquire UB Group’s stake in MCF through a friendly deal. But Mallya first dragged his feet on the matter and later said he would retain control in the fertiliser company, citing his readiness to buy stakes from Zuari Chemicals and Deepak Fertilisers.
After getting cold feet on buying out Mallya’s stake, Poddar had said he was keen to sell his MCF stake to the highest bidder by February this year.
– Mithun Dasgupta