Tata Sons AGM: Mistry family raises questions over losses in group firms

Some of the shareholders also raised issues of major losses in telecom and Tata Steel's European businesses
The Tata Sons annual general meeting (AGM), held online for the first time in its over 100-year history, turned out to be a stormy affair when representatives of the Mistry family, who own 18.5 per cent stake in the holding company, raised questions over losses in various Tata group companies including aviation.

The meeting, attended by Tata group CEOs and the group patriarch, Ratan Tata, was chaired by N Chandrasekaran, who countered the allegations made by the Mistry representative at the AGM. 

Sources said that Chandra maintained the group’s commitment in the businesses Tatas operate in including aviation. He said the group was in aviation for the long term and it would support both the airlines —Tata SIA Airlines and Air Asia India. 

Earlier reports suggested that the Tata group, which owns 51 per cent stake in Air Asia India, is in talks to buy out AirAsia Berhad's stake in the loss-making joint venture.

Neither Tata Sons nor the Mistry family commented on the matter. 

The total investment made in the airline venture is around Rs 1,255 crore while the total losses are around Rs 2,130 crore. 

Some of the shareholders also raised issues of major losses in telecom and Tata Steel's European businesses.  

These were among the issues raised by Cyrus Mistry  after he was removed in October 2016 as Tata Sons chairman.

The AGM assumes significance as the Supreme Court is all set to hear the appeals filed by the Tata group and the Mistry family against each other. The Mistry family is demanding a board seat and removal of veto powers to Tata Trusts directors. Tata Trusts owns 66 per cent stake in Tata Sons.

The auditor of Tata Sons also raised the issue of Air Asia India. It said the Air Asia (India) Limited has accumulated losses and its net worth has been fully eroded. 

Air Asia (India) Limited has incurred a net loss during the current and previous year and Air Asia (India) Limited’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets as at the balance sheet date by Rs 1,208.89 crore. These conditions and events indicate existence of material uncertainty that may cast a significant doubt on Air Asia (India)’s ability to continue as a going concern, the auditor said.

In FY20, Chandra took home Rs 58 cr

Tata Sons management, including Chairman N Chandrasekaran and Executive Director Saurabh Agrawal, have taken a cut in the bonuses. While Chandrasekaran took home remuneration of Rs 58.34 crore, Agrawal’s total remuneration was Rs 15.77 crore.

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