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Wadias eyeing aviation biz

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Mr Nusli Wadia, Chairman, Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company Ltd, and Mr Ness Wadia, Deputy Managing Director, at the company's AGM in Mumbai on Friday. — Paul Noronha

Mumbai , July 23

MR Nusli Wadia, Chairman, Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company Ltd, today said the group is "seriously" studying the feasibility of entering aviation.

Mr Wadia said the group has submitted its application for a scheduled operator licence to the Civil Aviation Ministry and is awaiting its response. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Bombay Dyeing's annual general meeting.

"India has a large aviation market. We are looking at it (aviation) seriously. International consultants have been appointed to study the business and they are expected to submit a detailed report within two or three months," Mr Wadia said. The group is interested in entering the no-frills airline business.

Mr Wadia told shareholders today that Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company would invest close to Rs 75 crore - Rs 80 crore on developing its 4.5 million square feet real estate in Mumbai. The company hopes to diversify into real estate development beginning with its 2.5 million square feet Spring Mill land in Dadar, Mumbai. Work on Spring Mill land will begin before the end of this year.

The company plans to develop its 4.5 million square feet land in Mumbai, including Dadar and Worli properties, into residential and commercial properties, Mr Wadia said. The company will develop these properties itself and will not sell it to other builders, he said.

Bombay Dyeing will be moving its entire textile business outside Mumbai and is scouting for sites in Maharashtra to set up a new mill. The company has already completed a voluntary retirement scheme for 1,500 workers in Mumbai at a cost of Rs 56 crore.

It will scale up exports to high value markets such as the UK and has invested in capital equipment to upgrade the finishing of its textile products, Mr Wadia told shareholders.

A couple of minority shareholders today opposed resolutions for granting stock options to independent directors on the board. The company had sought shareholders' approval to reward high performance of directors with equity shares at par. Although the shareholders asked for voting on two such resolutions Mr Wadia disallowed the demand, as they did not have the requisite proxy strength.

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