Tuesday, November 05, 2019

MIAL stake row: Adani seeks HC nod to close Bidvest deal

Mumbai: Two days before the deadline, the Adani Group on Tuesday sought the Bombay High Court's nod to complete its offer to buy the 13.5 per cent stake held by South African company Bidvest in Mumbai airport, saying the GVK Group has failed to deposit the money in the court-ordered escrow account on time.
It can be noted that, with the third extension, the GVK group has time till on November 7 to pay Bidvest and complete the deal.

The Adanis's bid to enter the country's second busiest airport by buying out Bid Services Division Mauritius (Bidvest) from the MIAL was stalled after the airport operator MIAL controlled by the GVK Group chose to exercise its first right of refusal, and matched the Rs 1,248-crore or Rs 77 a share, offer that Adanis made to the South African company in March, valuing MIAL at Rs 9,500 crore.

According to the agreement, the final payment and transfer of shares was September 30 which was later extended twice by consent to November 7.

On September 15, an arbitral tribunal, which heard the case between GVK and Bidvest, gave GVK time till October 31 to deposit the money to buy out Bidvest shares. According to the arbitral order if GVK failed to deposit the amount, Bidvest would be free to sell its stake to any third-party.

Adani Group counsel Darius Khambata on Tuesday told a single bench of justice AK Menon that GVK has failed to comply with the tribunal order and has filed an affidavit saying arrangements for payments have been made.

"After the October 31 deadline, the Adanis wrote to Bidvest and GVK asking if the money had been deposited, but there was no reply," Khambata said.

He further said since GVK failed to comply with the tribunal order, Bidvest is free to sell its shares to a third-party. This was more so as the Adanis have already entered into an agreement with Bidvest to buy them out.

GVK group counsel Ravi Kadam told the court that it has complied with the tribunal order.

Bidvest counsel Janak Dwarkadas said while GVK has filed an affidavit before the tribunal saying the amount has been deposited, they are yet to get the details. "We wrote a letter to GVK on November 2, seeking details of the deposit made. However, we have not yet got a reply," Dwarkadas said.

He also said Bidvest is now not in a position to extend the November 7 date agreed with the Adanis to make final payment and complete the deal.

Khambata then informed the court that the group was willing to deposit the entire amount of Rs 1,248 crore to show its bonafides.

"We are willing to deposit the amount provided Bidvest agrees to extend the November 7 deadline to February 7, 2020," Khambata said.

Justice Menon said the court cannot get into it and that it is up to Bidvest to extend the date or not and posted the matter to Wednesday for further hearing.
In March 2019, Bidvest had entered into an agreement with Adanis to sell its entire stake in the airport for a consideration of Rs 1,248 crore.
05/11/19 PTI/Times of India
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