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Wockhardt to clear FCCB dues, stock up 11%

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The has directed debt-ridden pharma company to clear payments to foreign currency convertible bond (FCCB) holders by August 31, 2012.

Hearing the winding-up petition filed against Wockhardt by the bondholders, including US hedge fund and Sun Pharmaceuticals, the court asked the company to pay Rs 315 crore to them. The court has also warned the company that a liquidator will be appointed if Wockhardt fails to pay the installment amounts.

The company had defaulted on the re-payment of its $110-million FCCBs in 2009. Although the company had reached a settlement with a few FCCB holders, approximately $60 million will have to be paid to the remaining holders.

Wockhardt shares on Tuesday touched a monthly high of Rs 459 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Shares closed at Rs 448.10, up 11.59 per cent.

The court cleared Wockhardt's sale of nutrition unit to French company Danone for Rs 1,600 crore, which was announced in August. The company's plan to sell its nutrition business to Abbott in 2009 was opposed by the FCCB holders.

Wockhardt had earlier deposited Rs 115 crore with the court as security. Under the new agreement, Wockhardt will pay Rs 85 crore by December, Rs 30 crore by January, Rs 100 crore by March 31, and the remaining amount before August. The company owes Rs 421 crore to bond holders, including interest and redemption premium. Wockhardt was assisted by law firm Majmudar & Co.

The Khorakiwala family had filed a defamation suit to seek Rs 939 crore as compensation from bond holders for defaming Wockhardt promoters, through accusations made in an affidavit filed by them before the Bombay High Court in April.

The bond holders had accused the Khorakiwala family of ignoring the shareholders’ and creditors’ interests by choosing to indulge in speculative derivative transactions and, despite having the means to do so, refusing to honour its obligations under the FCCB, the company said in its suit.

The bond holders who have been slapped with a defamation suit include BNY Corporate Trustees Services Ltd, Barclays Capital Services Ltd, QVT Fund LP, Quintessence Fund LP,

Bank of Nova Scotia and Sun Pharma Global Inc.

It is not known whether the company will withdraw the petition in the backdrop of the recent settlement.

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