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Wednesday, 06 November, 2019, 11 : 00 AM [IST]

Adani seeks more time to buy stake in Mumbai Airport

Adani Properties wants the deadline for closing its proposed acquisition of Bidvest’s stake in GVK-controlled Mumbai International Airport Ltd. to be extended by three months to February 2020.

The company is willing to deposit the entire amount in a no-lien bank account if the transaction deadline is postponed to February 7 from November 7, Darius Khambata, senior counsel for Adani Properties, said in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday

Bidvest agreed in April to sell stake to Adani Properties by September 30 for INR 1,235 crore. Adani Properties approached the court to restrain Bidvest from selling its stake to any other party. GVK had exercised its right of first refusal to buy Bidvest’s holding.

After hearing arguments from all the parties, AK Menon, Justice, Bombay High Court reserved the matter for order on November 6. “We are seeking an injunction against Bidvest to sell their shares to anyone,” argued Khambata. “GVK has failed to purchase shares from Bidvest and the other stakeholder AAI(Airports Authority of India) has made it clear that they are not interested to acquire those shares and hence there is nothing that can stop Bidvest to sell those shares to us.”

The Gautam Adani-controlled company is also seeking court intervention to appoint Bidvest as the ‘constructive trustee’ to make sure that GVK and the AAI abide by the right of first refusal to sell their stakes to them. Countering this, Ravi Kadam, senior counsel for GVK, argued that the company has deposited the money in an escrow account on October 30.

“This is just an attempt by the petitioner (Adani Properties) to cut short my right of first refusal. The agreement between Adani and Bidvest clearly says that their right will kick in only if I fail to perform,” Kadam said. Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, who appeared for Bidvest, observed that the company is in a situation where there are two suitors with no money. After GVK delayed its payment, Bidvest approached the Delhi High Court and was allowed to move an arbitration tribunal, which gave GVK until October end to make the payment. “Currently, the arbitration tribunal has restrained us from selling shares until November 24,” added Dwarkadas. The GVK Group raised over INR 7,600 crore to reduce debt and acquire a 23.5% stake in MIAL, according to a company stock exchange filing on October 27. Currently, South African investors Bidvest and ACSA hold 23.5% in MIAL, GVK owns 50.5% and AAI owns the remainder.

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