The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Morepen owners skip depositors

Calcutta, May 11: Soon after Morepen Laboratories landed in trouble with its lenders, its promoters — the Suris — have defaulted in repaying an inter-corporate deposit of Rs 5 crore.

The lender, a Delhi-based finance company, sold off 25.06 lakh shares of Morepen Laboratories that the Suris had pledged with it in the market.

Morgan Securities and Credits Private Limited told stock exchanges it had lent Rs 5 crore to Blue Coast Hotels and Resorts Ltd in September last year. The Suris have promoted a number of hotels, besides their better-known pharmaceutical company.

The finance company offloaded the shares after the Suris defaulted in repaying the loan. These shares were pledged by Niketan Trades Private Ltd, Sanjay Suri and Sons — an entity registered as a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) — Mamta Suri and Liquid Holding Private Ltd.

The shareholders’ details filed with the stock exchanges by Morepen Laboratories and Morepen Hotels list these entities as part of the promoter group.

Of the shares sold by the lender, 18.7 lakh shares were formerly held by Mamta Suri, four lakh by Niketan Traders, and 2.1 lakh shares by the HUF. Morgan Securities is understood to have recovered a little over Rs 3 crore from the sales.

The Suris’ declared holding in Morepen Laboratories was pegged at 13.96 per cent on March 31, 2003.

Morepen Laboratories appears to be in financial trouble. The Bank of Nova Scotia recently obtained an interim order from the debt recovery tribunal to freeze the $ 15.25-million (Rs 72.5 crore) that the company had raised by issuing 5 million global depository receipts (GDR).

Morepen Laboratories issued the global depository receipts at $ 3.05 each, and listed them on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. The company is also said to be raising $ 100 million in external commercial borrowings.

The bank had lent Rs 78 crore in working capital credit to Morepen Laboratories. In response to the move by the Bank of Nova Scotia, Morepen Laboratories said, it was going to seek a restructuring of loans, and had appointed GE Capital to work it a plan with lenders.

Morepen Laboratories, a $ 200-million multinational, is a leading player in bulk drugs and formulations. It has also entered in the fast moving health good, diagnostic and medical devices segment.

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