United Spirits sells treasury stock in two block deals to raise Rs11 billion
Shares of United Spirits Ltd (USL) slipped by 4.18% to Rs879 in early noon trades Tuesday after nearly 12.4 million shares representing about 12.4% equity changed hands in two transactions on the exchanges. United Spirits raised nearly Rs11 billion selling treasury stock, the deal was done with an aim to de-leverage its balance sheet.

Earlier, the company, in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange said Shaw Wallace & Co which holds 10.27% stake in USL intends its all shares due to corporate considerations.

In 2005, Vijay Mallya-led United Breweries bought Shaw Wallace & Co, which was merged with the group's flagship company USL last year.

Mallya was trying to sell about 18.6 million treasury shares, valued at about Rs17 billion to UK-based Diageo, since late last year. However, the deal seems to be stuck over issues like pricing and management control.

The two block deals in which USL sold its treasury shares, first block saw about 5.26 million shares been sold at an average price of Rs900 per share and the second block saw around 7.2 million shares sold at an average price of Rs882 per share.

According to media reports Reliance Mutual Fund has picked up shares worth Rs1 billion from the blocks in the open market.

United Spirits has an outstanding debt of Rs75 billion, including Rs15 billion towards working capital and Rs55 billion for the Whyte & Mackay (W&M) acquisition, at the year to end-March.

The repayment of debt for W&M is scheduled to begin this year. In May, USL repaid a first tranche of $45 million while it will have to repay the second tranche, of $45 million, by the end-March next year, with about $20 million also due for repayment.

The company was planning to raise another $200 to $250 million via qualified institutional placements (QIP) route, added reports. United Spirits has over 150 products in its portfolio including brands Black Dog, Signature, Royal Challenge and Romanov. -Yogesh Sapkale [email protected]

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