Mallya to take good cheer to Chinese tipplers with United Spirits

The UBS chairman says United Spirits Ltd has deputed a representative to go to China to study the local market and drinking habits of his potential customers prior to opening a subsidiary there.

Addressing analysts in Mumbai while declaring his company's financial results for Q3 FY 07, Mallya said that the process of setting up a Chinese subsidiary had already begun. Though he acknowledged that language was a major barrier to entering the Chinese market, he said the country offered strong market potential.

UBS' profit after tax in Q3 FY 07 was Rs3.42 billion as against Rs170.8 million in the same quarter last year. Net income from operations for this quarter nearly doubled to Rs 7.73 billion from Rs 3.99 billion in the same period last fiscal.

The near doubling in profits is due to UBS' $300-million acquisition of rival Shaw Wallace. The integration process of the Shaw Wallace with UB has been successful," he said.

Calling it a successful integration, Mallya disclosed that the Whyte and Mackay acquisition was still under negotiations with the UK company's owners. "We do not wish to overpay and stress ourselves," he said without divulging any figures for the acquisition on grounds of the confidentiality agreement between the two countries.

Mallya is keen on the acquisition because he sees India as an emerging market for Scotch whisky, which India cannot produce and "Without acquisition we would miss a growth opportunity," as he put it.