Herbertsons Operations Unaffected Even As Mallya-Chhabria Wrangle Continues

Mumbai, Sept 17: | Updated: Sep 18 2003, 05:30am hrs
The ongoing tussle between UB Group and Herbertsons Ltd chairman Vijay Mallya and Herbertsons Ltd vice-chairman Kishore Chhabria for control over the company has not created any impact on operations of the company.

Speaking to FE, Herbertsons executive vice-president (finance and accounts) A Raghunathan said, We have totally compartmentalised the operations of the company in such a way that the legal tussle does not, and will not affect or hamper the day-to-day operations in the company.

UB Group has created a core team headed by Mr Raghunathan along with the comany secretary Bharath Raghavan and the entire legal department of the company to deal with the issue. Apart from the core team, other offices right from sales, marketing to human resource department are doing their respective work. Thus, we have been able to keep the operations insulated from the ongoing legal battle, added Mr Raghunathan.

Said Herbertsons union secretary SD Doshi, The morale of the staff is very high and the employees are comfortable with the existing management. We do not foresee any management changes in the near future. However, everything will depend on the decision of the apex court. We have not given a thought to it at the moment. Even though there had been some queries from employees on this issue, it has not created any impact on their work.

The companys Bagpiper whiskey is the largest selling whiskey in the standard IMFL category, with annual sales of over six million cases. Its other products include Bagpiper Gold, Romanov Vodka, Presidents Pride whiskey, among others.

Sales during the quarter ended June 30, 2003 were at 2.4 million cases as against 2.2 million cases during the same quarter in the corresponding fiscal.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2003 the provisional unaudited financial results of Herbertsons Ltd has shown a 38 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 1.18 crore as against Rs 85 lakh for the corresponding period last year.

The battle for control between Mallya and Chhabria has intensified ever since Mallya came up with a counter offer to Herbertsons shareholders at Rs 200, subsequent to which Chabria revised his earlier offer by offering Rs 210.74 per share to all shareholders. Mallya had also moved Supreme Court with a plea to stall Chhabrias offer.