Bengaluru–Beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya will continue to be the chairman of United Breweries Ltd (UBL) though he is out of India since March and has not presided over board meetings, said an official on Wednesday.
“As regulatory rules do not prevent Mallya from holding the top executive post, he remains the chairman though he has not been attending board meetings in person as he is out of country since March,” UBL director Chug Yoginder Pal told shareholders at the 17th annual general meeting (AGM) here.
The company’s another director, A.K. Ravi Nedungadi, however, clarified that as Mallya had attended board meetings through video conferences, he could continue to be the UBL chairman as per the Companies Act.
On shareholders’ concerns over the company’s assets being attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which had on September 4 seized Mallya’s assets valued at Rs.6,300 crore in Karnataka and Maharashtra, Pal said none of the UBL’s assets were attached till date though he (Mallya) still holds 30.71 per cent of equity stake in the company.
In a written statement, read out at the AGM, Mallya said the company continued to have leadership position in the Indian beer market with about 50 per cent share.
“The company sold 151 million cases (12 bottles each) in fiscal 2015-16 as against the total sales of 295 million cases in the alcoholic beverage industry,” said Mallya in the statement.
Noting that Goods and Sales Tax (GST) would be a reality soon, Mallya said the company would make efforts to persuade state governments to review their outdated tax policies as alcoholic beverages were excluded from the new tax (GST).
Mallya is reported to be in London since he left India on March 2 ahead of the SBI-led banks’ consortium petitioning the Supreme Court to recover their outstanding loans amounting to Rs.9,431.65 crore, including interest that were sanctioned to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.