Boby Kurian

Bangalore, May 4

UNITED Breweries (UB) Ltd, jointly owned by the UB Group Chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya, and UK brewer Scottish & Newcastle, has recast its board of directors, inducting Mr Sunil Alagh, former top honcho of Britannia Industries, and Mr C.Y. Pal, former Chairman of Cadbury India Ltd, as independent directors in the process.

This is part of the brewing major's move to give its board, headed by Mr Mallya, a facelift in the wake of an equity deal with S&N in December 2004.

The new-look nine-member board now consists of three representations each from UB and S&N and three independent directors. Besides Mr Mallya, other UB nominees are Mr Ravi Nedungadi, CFO of the UB Group, and Mr Kalyan Ganguly, who is the Chief Executive of the company. The S&N directors are Mr John Hunt, Mr John Dunsmore and Ms Lesley Jackson, who is also the CFO of the company. Apart from Mr Alagh and Mr Pal, the third independent director is Mr C.L. Jain.

Following the recent equity deal, Mr Mallya and the foreign partner own 35 per cent each in the largest domestic brewer that accounts for 50 per cent of the beer consumption in the country. UB with its flagship brand Kingfisher reported annual volume sales of 45 million cases in the financial year 2004-05 and has projected sales of 50 million cases in the current year. The domestic beer market, almost carved up between UB and the global brewing giant SABMiller, is growing at 7-8 per cent but has a low per capita consumption of 0.7 litre.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 5, 2005)
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