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Mallya considering 49% stake sale in Whyte & Mackay

Press Trust Of India  |  London 

Vijay Mallya-promoted United Spirits Ltd (USL) is considering to sell a 49 per cent stake in its Glasgow-based arm Whyte & Mackay to pay off debt, according to a media report.

According to the The Times, the move is part of a drive to cut UB Group's $4 billion (£2.5 billion) debt.

Mallya told the daily that USL, the spirits holding group that has debts of $1.68 billion, was considering sale of 49 per cent stake in Whyte & Mackay, which was bought in 2007 for $1.2 billion.

The report also quoted Ravi Nedungadi, the chief financial officer of the UB Group, saying there had been interest from "a number of private equity players" in W&M, which owns single malt whisky brands such as Jura and Dalmore. He said UB Group would retain ownership of 51 per cent and that the proceeds would be used to cut USL's debt and to help fund an expansion drive, including the construction of new distilleries and India's biggest glass plant.

Nedungadi, however, denied that the cash would be used to pay off any of Kingfisher Airlines' debt.

"If we were to sell or dilute any of those assets the proceeds would go only to repay or reduce United Spirits' debt," the report quoted him as saying.

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First Published: Tue, February 28 2012. 01:06 IST
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