Adani-Bidvest extend Mumbai airport share deal deadline to Nov 7

Mumbai airport
The Adani group has secured its claim over 13.5 per cent stake in the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) following an extension to the deal deadline.

The group, which had signed a share purchase agreement with Bidvest in March to acquire latter's 13.5 per cent stake in MIAL, had moved the Bombay High Court for execution of the contract. On Tuesday, the company informed the court that the 'long stop date' (deadline) for payment of purchase amount of Rs 1,248 crore and transfer of shares has been extended from September 30 to November 7.

The Adani group and GVK are locked in a two-way tussle for control of the 13.5 per cent stake in Mumbai airport. At present, GVK group owns 50.5 per cent in MIAL while Airport Authority of India owns 26 per cent. Two South African entities -- Bidvest and ACSA -- own 13.5 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. GVK had exercised its right of first refusal to acquire the Bidvest shares but failed to execute the transaction within the 30-day period which expired on April 4. GVK then filed a plea before the Delhi High Court to restrain Bidvest from selling it to a third party, but a single-judge bench dismissed its plea in July. The matter is now before an arbitration tribunal in Delhi.

The arbitration tribunal has given GVK time till October 31 to pay Rs 1,248 crore to Bidvest. The tribunal has also restrained the South African firm from transferring shares to a third party. On Tuesday, Adani group's counsel Vikram Nankani informed the court that his client is not a party to the arbitration and GVK should give two days' notice if it decides to deposit the amount before the last date. Justice A K Menon, however, refused to pass any directions on his request and posted the matter for hearing on November 5.

Meanwhile, GVK group too is optismistic about being able to acquire Bidvest shares. Last week its chief financial officer, Issac George, told media persons that talks on the acquisition are at an advanced stage. "We expect to conclude the transaction by next month. GVK has the first right of refusal in stake acquisition," he had said.

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