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Hotel Leela promoters hike stake, equity dilution delayed

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Hotel Leelaventure promoters have hiked stake in the company by over 1% in the first few months of the fiscal as they look to increase holding to 60%, even as their plan to dilute nearly 15% of their equity has been delayed.

The promoters have increased their holding to 56% from 54.61% as on March 31, 2011 with a group firm, Leela Lace Software Solutions acquiring the additional equity from open market.

"In this fiscal, the promoters have acquired 1% additional equity through a group firm, Leela Lace Software Solutions," Hotel Leelaventure Director Finance and CFO Krishna Deshika told PTI.

Sebi rules allow promoters to make creeping acquisition of up to 5% equity within a fiscal.

When asked about the plans by promoters to sell their stake and raise about Rs 600 crore, he said: "We are talking to three private equity at the moment but have not finalised stake sale yet as these things take time."

In March this year, the company had said that its promoters are looking to divest as much as 14.95% stake through a fresh issue of shares to investors.

Later on April 18, Hotel Leelaventure Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Vivek Nair had said the company was close to concluding a preferential allotment of equity shares in the next 6-8 times to private equity investors.

Deshika said the intent is to take up promoters' holding to about 60% and then sell about 15%, so that even after the equity dilution, the promoters are left with a substantial amount of stake.

He, however, added: "It may not necessarily be in that order."

Asked if Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries could pick up stake in the company, Deshika said : "Neither we got any proposal from them [RIL], nor have we offered them."

In May this year, the company's board has approved fund raising of up to Rs 1,000 crore by way of qualified institutional placement, FCCB and others.

"The fund raising and stake sale is aimed at reducing the company's debt," he said.

According to Deshika, the company's total debt at present is estimated at Rs 3,950 crore.

Asked about ITC Ltd's shareholding in Hotel Leelaventure Deshika said: "ITC currently has about 13% stake in the company, which is a treasury investment and not a strategic investment for them."

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First Published: Sun, July 31 2011. 11:09 IST