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Unitech promoters realign roles

Mumbai, March 8: The promoters of Unitech Limited — India’s second largest listed real estate company — have put in place a plan that redefines the roles and responsibilities of the family members.

Sanjay Chandra, managing director of Unitech, will focus on Unitech’s telecom arm, Unitech Wireless.

His brother, Ajay Chandra, who was looking at project execution so far, will be responsible for the flagship’s real estate activities, sources close to the development said.

Ramesh Chandra — Sanjay and Ajay Chandra’s father —will oversee the group’s activities with an emphasis on the realty business that has been weighed down by a huge debt burden.

An email sent to the company on this development went unanswered.

Sources said the Chandra family had recently decided on this “informal realignment of roles”, but the move did not imply that these new responsibilities would confine the two brothers to their individual portfolios.

“Sanjay Chandra can still be involved in the real estate business and the same holds true for Ajay Chandra’s role in telecom,” said a source close to the company who did not wish to be named.

Unitech Wireless is expected to play an important role in the future of the group, which is working on a debt restructuring programme for flagship Unitech Ltd. With a debt burden of over Rs 8,000 crore, Unitech Ltd has recently restructured Rs 1,000 crore of debt with public sector banks and rolled over Rs 500 crore borrowed from mutual funds for three months, media reports said.

Unitech has entered into an agreement with Norway-based Telenor to sell a 60 per cent stake in Unitech Wireless. It expects a cash injection of Rs 6,120 crore by Telenor in Unitech Wireless.

A presentation on the company’s website says that this transaction will have an impact on the consolidated balance sheet of Unitech Ltd since it will transfer debt and guarantees totalling Rs 2,100 crore to Unitech Wireless. Moreover, Unitech Wireless will pay approximately Rs 400 crore to Unitech Ltd for the repayment of loans.

Unitech Ltd will eventually hold an economic interest of 40 per cent in Unitech Wireless. Based on the entry valuation of Telenor, Unitech’s economic interest will be valued at Rs 4,080 crore, the presentation said.

Unitech has already put up some of its assets for sale to raise cash. Media reports indicate that the company has entered into an agreement with an individual investor Roop Madan, a Delhi-based auto dealer, to sell its hotel for around Rs 230 crore.

The company’s headquarters in Saket, New Delhi, is also on the block.

The company has been talking with private equity investors to raise cash both at the project and company levels.

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