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Mumbai Airport stake sale: GVK, Bidvest fail to reach settlement

Arun Nayal

GVK group and its equity partner Bidvest in Mumbai airport on Thursday failed to arrive at a settlement on the stake sale dispute between them.

On April 8, lawyers of GVK Airports Holdings (GVKAHL) and Bid Services Division (Mauritius) had sought time from the Delhi High Court to explore an agreement. However, both parties have not been able to end the stalemate.

Justice Sanjeev Narula will now hear the case on merit from April 29.

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GVKAHL had moved the Delhi HC last week seeking to stall Bidvest group s attempt to sell off a 13.5% stake in Mumbai International Airport (MIAL). The company said it has the right of first refusal (ROFR) to purchase shares under the shareholders agreement signed in 2006.

GVK holds a 50.5% stake in MIAL and had proposed to increase its share in Mumbai airport to 74%. It initiated a process to acquire Bidvest s 13.5% in MIAL during February and a 10% stake of Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) on March 22 under ROFR in terms of the shareholders agreement.

GVK has alleged that Bidvest intends to defeat GVK s preferential rights to purchase the shares and sell them to a third party.

According to sources, Bidvest has been in talks with infrastructure major Adani group for sale. GVK had urged the court to prevent Bidvest from creating third-party rights on its 162 million equity shares.

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Bid Services Division undertook before the court that it will not take any precipitative steps till the next date of hearing, advocate Kartik Nayar, representing GVKAHL, told FE.

MIAL is joint venture between GVK, Bidvest, ACSA and state-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI).

According to sources, Bidvest is in talks with the Adani group for stake sale, which emerged as the highest bidder to control six non-metro airports owned by AAI in February.

GVK has plans to sell a minority stake in its airports holding company to fund MIAL stake buy and reduce debt of around Rs 12,854 crore at the end of March 2018.