The estranged partner of McDonald’s, Vikram Bakshi today said he will challenge termination of franchise licence by the US-based fast food chain for north and east regions in India. Bakshi also said he would move court if the licence is given to another entity, claiming CPRL — the joint venture with McDonald’s — has the existing licence. He, however, said in case the partners decide to part ways, he was open to a third-party valuation of CPRL for him to exit their troubled relationship. On Monday, McDonald’s India terminated the franchise agreement for 169 fast-food outlets in north and east India run by Connaught Plaza Restaurant Ltd (CPRL), alleging breach of contract terms and payment default, including non-payment of royalty for two years. “We are going to challenge them in the court to say these existing licenses were given for 20 years and you are terminating it on the basis of some payments not made,” Bakshi said in an interview to news channel CNBC TV18. He was asked what step he would take if McDonald’s was to give licence for north and east India to another party.
Bakshi further said if McDonald’s wanted to exit their JV, “they have to do it on a basis of the policy of India, which says a foreign company wanting to buy out a shareholder of Indian partner can do so only at a fair market value”. “When have I stopped it? I have said let’s give it to the third-party and get a valuation done as of September 2013…and let us see, whatever it comes I will take it. Does it come to Re 1 or Rs 1,000, that’s my luck,” Bakshi said. He also refuted claims that the franchise licence of CPRL was terminated because of unpaid royalty for two years, saying he was forced to pay the debtors first.
He said the US-based food chain forced CPRL to pay Rs 46 crore to the debtors. “Why was the debt paid, we could have paid royalty first if that was so important,” he said, adding “till the date the MD was existing there, the royalty was paid up to date.” He was removed as MD of CPRL in August 2013.
When contacted, a spokesperson of McDonald’s said: “…CPRL as the company with whom we signed our franchise agreements, is the franchisee of McDonald’s restaurants in North and East India and therefore has the responsibility to fulfil the contractual obligations with that agreement.”