Burmans of Dabur now own over 9 per cent in Eveready

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on March 06, 2020

Transactions were done through portfolio management firm Guardian Advisors on behalf of family

The Burman family, promoters of Dabur India, are said to have picked up a significant 9.26 per cent stake in Kolkata-based Eveready Industries, the country’s largest dry cell batter maker. The transactions have been initiated through Guardian Advisors.

Guardian Advisors, a portfolio management firm owned by Arjun Lamba and others, manages the investment for the Burmans, besides others. Sources say the stake pick-up has been on behalf of the Burman family.

Incidentally, the portfolio management firm has for quite some time been picking up stake in the Khaitan-family owned Eveready Industries. Over the last few months, it has steadily picked up a 5.9 per cent stake; and on Friday it announced a further increase in stake by another 3.4 per cent. Fresh stake pick-up was done through open market purchases on March 5 and March 6.

‘Power of attorney’

In a regulatory filing on Friday, Guardian Advisors said, its investment in Eveready are on behalf of its clients. The ownership of the assets was with the clients and Guardian Advisors have the “power of attorney” on behalf of its clients.

“Guradian Advisors has acquired further shares in the company (Eveready) and nows hold 9.26 per cent equity stake in Eveready Industries under various client accounts,” it said to the BSE today.

The companies on behalf of which acquisitions were made in Eveready include MB Finmart Pvt Ltd, Puran Associates, VIC Enterprises Ltd and Chowdry Associates. The Burman family members are there on the boards of all these companies, a search on the ROC reveals.

When contacted, a Dabur India spokesperson said investments (in Eveready) were made by the family in their personal capacities. “These are personal investments of the promoter family and has nothing to do with Dabur India,” he told BusinessLine.

Debt, a concern

For Eveready Industries, high debt has been a major concern. It has been trying to pare debts of around ₹400 crore through asset monetisation. Reports have also suggested that the company was open to bringing in strategic investors or forge partnerships.

The battery-maker has hived off its loss-making packet tea business in order to focus on its core business of batteries, lighting and small appliances. In its bid to manage debt, the company concluded sale of its Chennai and Hyderabad plots for about ₹200 crore. Sale proceeds are to used for paring debt.

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Published on March 07, 2020
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