Lenders to the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, who have been stepping up pressure on Vijay Mallya's United Breweries Holdings (UBHL) for the past few months, have dealt it another blow. As a result of recent invocation of pledged shares, UBHL's stake in liquor firm United Spirits (USL) has dwindled to 3.31%, nearly half of what it was left with after the Diageo acquisition a year ago.
The latest action happened on June 13, with lenders invoking 3.14 million pledged shares (2.17% stake), the company said in a filing to stock exchanges on Wednesday.
UBHL held 5.48% stake prior to the move. “The change in shareholding has occurred due to unilateral invocation of pledged shares by IDBI Trusteeship Services in its capacity as trustees for the lenders of Kingfisher Airlines, the filing said.
Incidentally, the development also comes amid an ongoing open offer by Diageo which is looking to acquire an additional 26% from the public shareholders of USL. The British firm currently holds 28.78% stake in USL.
UBHL's woes on account of the action by lenders come amid the other challenges it is facing, including thwarting a potential takeover threat to group company Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers.
Last month, however, UBHL had freed up 1.9 million shares in USL from a pledge while also releasing the pledges on a 7.59% stake in MCF. The fertiliser firm is currently in the midst of a battle for control, with Mallya teaming up with the Saroj Poddar-led Adventz Group to counter an open offer from Pune-headquartered Deepak Fertilisers.