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Founder promoter of MTR Foods steps down

Mahesh Kulkarni  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

Sadananda Maiya, founder promoter of the Rs 150-crore MTR Foods Limited, who sold his company to Norway-based consumer food giant Orkla ASA early last year, has stepped down as its managing director.

Maiya, who managed the company since its inception, has been replaced by Orkla’s representative on the board, Are Nakkim, for the time being. A full-time managing director is likely to be appointed shortly, sources close to the company said.

However, Maiya will continue to be a director on the board. The change in top position was made according to the agreement signed between Maiya and Orkla at the time of acquisition. It was agreed that Maiya will continue to hold the MD’s position for at least one year and work till the company appoints its own candidate to the post. However, Maiya continued to hold the position for more than a year and finally stepped down a few days ago, making way for the Norwegian company to appoint its own candidate. Maiya was not available for comments.

More than a decade after moving away from the legendary MTR restaurant business, Maiya had restarted the restaurant business in a different avataar. He recently started a restaurant almost on the same lines as MTR in Bangalore named Maiyas Restaurant. According to information available, the cuisine is also almost the same as MTR.

In February 2007, Sadananda Maiya, who held 40 per cent stake, along with another 19 per cent stake held by his close relatives and friends in Bangalore-based ready-to-eat food products company, sold their stake to $8.8 billion Norwegian food giant, Orkla’s Singapore-based subsidiary, Orkla Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, in an all cash deal valued at $80 million (Rs 353 crore).

Two other strategic investors in the company, JP Morgan and Aquarius, who owned 26 per cent and 15 per cent respectively also exited. The deal was brokered by investment banker NM Rothschild after months of due diligence. At the time of selling MTR, the company had a turnover of Rs 135 crore.

MTR Foods manufactures around 270 varieties of processed vegetarian food products.

First Published: Fri, October 31 2008. 00:00 IST