According to sources, the fruit-juice manufacturer has not been issuing salaries and has also stopped production
Another likely casualty of the financial turmoil in the Indage empire is Seabuckthorn Indage Ltd (SIL), which reportedly has not been paying salaries to its employees since February 2009. Last week, Indage Vintners was on the brink of being liquated (it has subsequently received a stay from the Bombay High Court). Indage Vintners has a considerable stake in SIL.
An employee of SIL has written to us saying, “I am working with Seabuckthorn Indage Limited, our company is not paying salaries and expenses of field staff from last February 2009 and expenses from April 2008 to date.”
SIL is a producer of the ‘Leh Berry’ range of juices. The brand produces eight different types of flavoured juices like sea-buckthorn, mixed-fruit, orange, mango, guava, blackcurrant, litchi and peach.
According to the employee, earlier in the year, SIL’s managing director Mahendra Singh Dhanota told the staff that the company would pay all its dues in the coming months. However, the employee alleges that on 27 March 2010, Mr Singh told the employees that the Indage Group is winding up operations, so it would not be possible for SIL to pay its dues.
Moneylife repeatedly contacted SIL but we were told that nobody in senior management was available to speak on the issue. Finally, an employee called Mr Dassan told us that the company has not been producing any juice in the past three to four months owing to financial problems.
In January 2007, Indage Vintners acquired 6.5 lakh shares or 52.63% stake in SIL. As on 31 March 2008, the company retained this stake in SIL. Latest figures on Indage’s stake in SIL were not available.
We contacted Ranjit Chougule, managing director, Indage Vintners, for information on SIL. He sent us a text message which says, “We are only shareholders of Seabuckthorn Indage. You would need to contact their management.”
At one stage SIL was planning to diversify into home and personal care products, confectionery, biscuits, specialty cosmetics and OTC pharmaceuticals. It introduced its bottled water under the ‘Mountain Spring’ brand in 2007.