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Simplex buys Namdang House

Calcutta, Aug. 25: Namdang House, once the registered office of the Rs 245-crore India Foils Ltd, has been recently acquired by the Mundras of the Calcutta-based Simplex group. Simplex is among the leading players in the construction business in the city now.

The five-storey building at 27, Shakespeare Sarani, has been on the block for several years and was the talk of the real estate fraternity for sometime. The Mundras finally bought it from India Foils for Rs 5.11 crore. The Mundras and India Foils are both tight-lipped about the deal.

When contacted, Rajiv Mundra, one of the promoters of the Simplex group, refused to comment on it. “I am neither denying nor confirming the deal,” he said. However, Pioneer Properties—one of the leading real estate brokers in the city that acted as an intermediary in the deal —confirmed the sale. Though the deal has been closed, the paperwork is not complete yet. Pioneer Properties said the Mundras would turn Namdang House into their corporate office.

The building has a total built-up space of 21,000 square feet. Namdang House used to be the headquarters of India Foils till the Khaitans divested management control of the company to Sterlite Industries in December 1999. India Foils has since moved its head-office to Kamarhati on the outskirts of the city.

Before transferring management control to the Sterlite group, the Khaitans tried to sell off India Foils to the AV Birla group. The latter had even conducted a due diligence of the company before pulling out.

Even after management control of India Foils was transferred to Sterlite—which took over the reins by subscribing to a preferential issue—the Khaitans held a substantial stake in the company. The Williamson Magor group recently sold off 56.7 lakh shares of India Foils to ICICI, but they continue to hold over 10.5 per cent stake in the company. Eveready Industries, along with an investment company, holds the shares.

India Foils’ finances happen to be in bad shape, despite the company’s commanding position in the aluminium foil market.

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