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Friday, Dec 19, 2003

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Sakthi Sugars defers AGM

Our Bureau

Coimbatore , Dec 18

SAKTHI Sugars Ltd has informed the National Stock Exchange (NSE) that an AGM proposed to be held on December 18 has been rescheduled to a later date following a stay given by a local court on a petition filed by some shareholders of the company.

By an order dated December 16, the Principal Subordinate Judge, Coimbatore had restrained the company from holding the meeting, the company's notification to the NSE said. It added that it was taking steps to get the stay vacated.

It is learnt that a section of the farmers had moved the Court and obtained a stay against holding of the AGM demanding settlement of cane arrears before convening it.

When contacted, Mr M. Manickam, the CEO and Managing Director of Sakthi Sugars, told Business Line that the company was taking necessary steps to settle the cane dues, which had mounted to Rs 45 crore. "We will be paying it off within a week to 10 days."

A couple of months back, the company had assured the cane growers supplying cane to the factory that it would be making staggered payment towards settling their dues.

A farmer told this correspondent that though the dues stood at over Rs 40 crore, the company had issued consolidated cheques for Rs 18 crore, of which an amount of Rs 5 crore was encashed. "The company has assured to settle the balance before April next."

According to reliable information, a temporary ban on registering the cane for crushing by the unit has been imposed. Farmers have been advised to divert the cane to other sugar mills in the vicinity.

Farmers said that they were supplying the cane to jaggery making units as the proposition was more profitable. "If we supply the cane to sugar mills, we will get around Rs 650 per tonne after transportation. But the private jaggery making units are willing to pay Rs 900-1,000. Even if we have to bear the transport charges, we will still get something more than what the sugar mills pay."

The cane stock in the belt is close to one-and-a-half lakh tonnes.

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