UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya today said he is ready to buy stakes from Zuari and Deepak Fertilisers in Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (MCF).
"I intend to keep MCF within the UB Group fold and that we are not sellers and if either of them (Saroj Poddar of Zuari and Sailesh Mehta of Deepak Fertilisers) wish to sell their shares we would be happy to buy them," he told reporters after the annual general meeting of the company here.
Mallya, however, did not spell out the means to buy back MCF shares. "If you didn't have means to buy (the stake) we wouldn't be offering to buy the stake," he emphasised.
Asked how he would ring fence MCF in case Deepak Fertilisers and Zuari wants to buy more shares from the open market, Mallya said: "Ring fencing will only arise if either one of them goes hostile in which case we will appropriately respond at that time."
On his agreement with Poddar on parting his stake in MCF to the latter, Mallya said: "I respect Mr Poddar very much to enter into media debate about what he said and what he did not say. Suffice it to say that I have told him as well as Sailesh Bhai that I intend to keep MCF within the UB Group fold."
On what's happening in terms of joint venture he was supposed to form with Zuari, Mallya said as of now the focus is on UB maintaining control over MCF.
Speaking about the expansion plans for MCF, Mallya said the company would convert to natural gas by March 2014 and later on enter into specialty chemicals business, which is a natural extension.
The expansion plans of MCF were held up due to Rs 700 crore subsidy arrears owed to it by the government, he said.
Asked if there was any timeframe to get the subsidy amount from the government, Mallya said, "You should ask the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers."
Deepak Fertilizers and Zuari have been repeatedly purchasing shares of MCF in the open market.
Deepak Fertilisers, with a current stake just shy of the 25 per cent required to trigger an open offer, is not expected to increase its stake without Mallya's consent.
Zuari holds about 16 per cent of MCF.