Companies

Mallya keen to clear Kingfisher Airlines’ dues

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on November 24, 2015

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United Spirits management in talks with Mallya to step down from the board

United Spirits Chairman Vijay Mallya came out unscathed at the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday even as he reiterated that he is in advanced talks with lenders to clear Kingfisher Airlines’ dues.

In another development, sources in the company told BusinessLine that the management is in talks with Mallya to step down from the board.

The board had in April asked Mallya to resign after an internal probe found financial irregularities when he owned United Spirits.

Talking to reporters at the sidelines of the AGM, Mallya who will turn 60 soon, said at that age, one tends to take it easy, retire and enjoy life and said he was thinking on similar lines though he did not say whether he will step down from the board.

“I am also thinking on similar lines and there is nothing wrong in that,” he said.

He, however, said that his current focus was to settle the Kingfisher Airlines’ dues with the consortium of lenders.

He did not specify how he will raise the funds or whether he will sell his stake in United Spirits. In USL, he and his associates hold 4.07 per cent stake, of which 2.21 per cent are pledged with the lenders. The total value of unpledged shares is about ₹970 crore.

During the crucial AGM, Mallya had to face several questions from shareholders ranging from non-payment of dividend for the second year to the auditor’s report on the financial irregularities. A few shareholders wanted to know from the board the reason for appointing a vice chairman as they felt “Mallya did not need any help’’. They also said that there was no need to ask him to step down from the chairman’s post as his family had built the company from scratch.

Shareholder AN Manisundaram pointed out that there were too many disputes which USL was entangled in and wanted to know the reason for them.

Another shareholder said the auditor’s report on the internal probe report which indicated financial irregularities during the time Mallya was the owner of the company, was “really sticky.’’

He said the salary drawn by the managing director was without the clearance of the government. “Being a law breaker, you can’t speak about ethics,” he remarked. He wanted the auditor to explain the complete picture of the financial health of the company.

Published on November 24, 2015
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