Troubled Vijay Mallya looks set to lose Mangalore Chemicals too

Vijay MallyaThe battle for control of the Vijay Mallya-led Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (MCF) has got hotter, with both the Zuari Group and Deepak Fertilisers revising upwards their open offer price to buy 26 per cent stake that would give them control.

The revised price offered by the Sailesh Mehta-run Deepak Fertilisers is considerably higher than that of Saroj Poddar's Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals (ZFC), putting Mehta in pole position.

While Deepak Fertilisers has revised its final offer from Rs63 per share to Rs93.60, Poddar, who had teamed up with UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya, raised its offer price to Rs81.60 from Rs68.55.

If Deepak Fertilisers' offer wins, it would mean the end of Mallya's control of MCF – one of the few ventures he still controls after the Kingfisher Airlines fiasco.

Deepak Fertilisers holds 25.31 per cent in MCFL, Poddar's ZFC holds 16.43 per cent, and the promoter UB group holds 22.91 per cent.

Deepak Fertilisers president and chief financial officer Somnath Patil said, ''Our average purchase price of MCF shares works out to Rs78 per share. We feel that this is a fair representation of the value of MCF, considering its synergies with our business in terms of product portfolio and geographic spread, its infrastructure facilities and the potential for further growth. We see value creation opportunities over the medium to long term.''

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had earlier cleared the open offer launched by both the Zuari Group and Deepak Fertilisers. The open offer will start on 1 October and close on 17 October. The last date for an upward revision in the price or size was 25 September.

ZFC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zuari Agro Chemicals. According to the agreement between Zuari and UB groups, ZFC would be funding the takeover bid. If their bid for shares succeeds, it will cost more than Rs251 crore while for Deepak Fertilisers it would be above Rs288 crore.