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Lupin owners to shed more

Mumbai, July 3: Desh Bandhu Gupta, the promoter of Lupin Limited, is understood to be in negotiations to sell five million shares to Newbridge Capital as part of a revamp plan aimed at sloughing off its massive debt pile. Reports of a possible stake-sale come a day after the deal in which 12.5 per cent of its equity was sold to CVC International, a Citigroup Global Investments unit. The five million shares will bring in Rs 125.9 crore.

The promoters would not say if they were talking to Newbridge, and company officials refused comment. All that sources close to Lupin would disclose is that discussions to sell another five million shares are under way.

Established in 1994 by the Texas Pacific Group and Blum Capital Partners (formerly Richard C. Blum and Associates) of the US, Newbridge Capital invests directly in Asian companies from the $ 1.7 billion it currently manages. In India, it operates out of Mumbai.

Gupta has accepted a non-binding letter of interest from CVC International on behalf of the promoters until the deal is ratified by the Lupin board, the due diligence by CVC Internationalís investment committee is completed and regulators put their stamp of approval.

Indications of another share-sale came as a booster for the Lupin share, which closed 4.22 per cent higher at Rs 307.45 on BSE today; it opened at Rs 290 and hit an intra-day high at Rs 319.50. Analysts predicted more gains as the company cleans up its books.

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