The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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UB to sell non-core assets

Bangalore, Sept. 30 (PTI): United Breweries (Holdings) Limited (UBHL) would sell its non-core assets and is on the lookout for potential buyers, company chairman Vijay Mallya said today.

“I am looking at various ways to deal with non-core assets, but am under no compulsion to sell. There won’t be a distress sale,” he told reporters after the annual general meeting of Kingfisher Properties and Holdings Limited, which was renamed as UBHL.

The AGM of United Breweries Limited, which solely focussed on the beer business, was also held today, and Mallya said the company’s beer sales clocked a 21 per cent jump, both in terms of sales and revenue in the first five months (April-August) of 2002-03, compared with the same period last year.

Shareholders of UB Limited and UBHL, the holding company, agreed to a stock option scheme for their employees. Mallya also said that about 250 employees had opted for VRS.

Mallya said a string of acquisitions had been done in the last 18 months, costing around Rs 270 crore.

The foreign institutional investors investment cap was raised to 49 per cent in UB Limited, at the AGM. FII holding in UB Limited now is 20 per cent.

UBHL shareholders also passed a special resolution, consenting to acquisition of 100 per cent stake in California-based Mendocino Brewing Company Inc, at an investment of $ 13 million.

Mallya said Mendocino was a significant player in the craft brewing segment in the US and had interests in brewing and distribution of beer in the US and the UK.

Given the macro economic conditions in South Africa, the black empowerment objective and the steady weakening of the South African rand, the UBHL board had mandated divestment of part of its holdings in United National Breweries (South Africa) Limited, in which it had a 74 per cent stake.

Certain proposals were under consideration, which would enable the company to recoup its investments.

Mallya said UB Limited would launch a two-seater sports leisure car, the ‘Kingfisher Storm’ at an on-road price of Rs 5.5 lakh and added that he expected the roll-out in a couple of months.

This product is primarily targeted at the youth and housewives and those going in for their second or third car. “Kingfisher Storm will reinforce Kingfisher’s brand equity and value,” he said.

Shareholders consented to an investment of up to Rs 5 crore in San Motors limited in this regard. Company sources said the 2200 cc car would have a fibreglass body.

Mallya said there had been a good response to UB Export Lager beer. From sale of 5,000 cases a month in Bangalore, it had gone up to two lakh cases a month. It would soon be launched in Mumbai, he added.

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