Calcutta, Sept. 5: Berger International’s notification of its deal with Asian Paints to the Singapore Stock Exchange was misinterpreted by the Indian bourses as being an indirect takeover of Berger Paints (India) Ltd, the country’s second largest paints company.
Share prices of both Asian Paints and Berger Paints shot up by 20 per cent at the opening bell, only to fall later when the market realised that Berger International had sold off its stake in Berger Paints (India).
Subir Bose, managing director of Berger Paints (India), said: “We have exclusive rights on our brands and trademark, and the acquisition of Berger International — our principal previously — will not affect our business in India or abroad in any way.”
Bose ruled out any possibility of Asian Paints’ deal with Berger International being extended to India, and also clarified that the erstwhile principal did not hold a single share in Berger Paints (India).
In the late eighties, Berger (UK) sold off its international operations to Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries. In 1991, United Breweries sold off Berger’s operations in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and East Africa to local businessmen.
Berger’s operations in India and Bangladesh were bought over by the Delhi-based Kuldip Singh Dhingra, who has since substantially increased his stake in Berger Paints (India) and now holds 65.42 per cent in it. He is the chairman of both the companies.
Later in 1996, United Breweries sold off Berger International to a businessman in Malaysia. Ariza Holdings Ltd, a Singapore-based investment company, is the current promoter of Berger International and holds 56.77 per cent of the company’s shares.
Buoyed by the deal, the share price of Asian Paints shot up to Rs 369 at the opening bell but fell by Rs 20 later from its intra-day high. The stock finally closed at Rs 351.30.
The shares of Berger Paints, however, closed unchanged at Rs 78.40, though in intra-day trade the price ranged between Rs 86.40 and Rs 75.60.