UK / India: Rich Energy and Heineken benefit from Mallya’s legacy

While Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya fled India two years ago and has been living on bail in the UK since August last year, his former possessions are currently being sold to make up for his $1.4 billion debts to 17 banks after the collapse of his Kingfisher Airline in 2012.

Mallya’s luxury home in Mumbai, his palatial holiday villa in Goa and his personal jet are already gone. His luxury $93m superyacht  Indian Empress, which features a 15-seat cinema and Sir Elton John’s baby grand piano, has been impounded this week in Malta in a dispute over the businessman’s failure to pay the crew more than $1m in wages.

In addition, British energy drinks group Rich Energy is heading a consortium to buy Mallya’s Force India F1 team at a said price of £200m ($277m). Founder and chief executive of Rich Energy William Storey said that being in F1 will help his company that already sells its namesake premium energy drink in 23 countries, to expand its presence around the world. “F1 is the perfect platform for the brand, motorsport is all about a fast, glamorous lifestyle. It works for Red Bull,” he added. The deal is expected to close soon before this year’s first race in Melbourne, Australia, on March 25.

Another Rs 4,331crore ($670 million) might come from the sale of 15.2% of Mallya’s unpledged shares in India’s largest beer producer United Breweries (UB) to Heineken. The shares are currently owned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after the shares were confiscated from Vijay Mallya under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. According to the Act, all rights and title in such property vest with the central government after an order of confiscation. (, 19.1.2018)

The World’s second largest brewing group has approached this week the Indian authorities to buy the shares, which would increase Heineken’s stake in UB to 58.2% and make the Dutch brewer the majority owner of UB.

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