Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Apr 15, 2002
Shareholders may stall bid to sell Cochin Malabar estate
KOLKATA, April 14
THE country's second largest rubber producing company, Cochin Malabar Estates & Industries Ltd, is selling its largest estate within the next few days.
To this effect, an advertisement inviting tenders appeared on April 4. The tenders will be opened on April 15. The advertisement also stated that the Kinalur Estate, which is located at Kozhikode, measured over 987 hectare. Interested parties have been asked to pay 15 per cent of their bid value quoted price in the form of pay order as earnest money.
Meanwhile, a large section of shareholders are not too happy with the company's decision. It was learnt some of them are preparing to challenge the company's decision at the courts.
Prior to this sell-off decision, Cochin Malabar, a 73-year-old company, held almost 4,500 acres of plantation area, spread over four estates. In 1960, the Kolkata-based Bangurs got a 19 per cent stake after it acquired the British managing agency, Pierce Leslie Ltd. At present, the stake is held by the G.D. Bangur group, through Sitaram Investments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Joonktollee Tea.
The company is listed on the BSE and the SEBI records state that Mr Gazdar, Chairman and Managing Director, holds a 30 per cent stake in it. Life Insurance Corporation of India holds 18 per cent and the rest is with the public.
During the last four years, Cochin Malabar has been recording losses. The profit and loss account for the year ended March 31, 2000, reports an accumulated loss of Rs 16.35 crore. For the year ended March 31, 2001, the company's income was Rs 11.72 crore and net loss was Rs 8.85 crore. Accumulated loss as on that date was Rs 25.21 crore.
However, on March 31, 2000, the company's share capital was Rs 1.77 crore and reserves and surplus accounted for Rs 36.86 crore. If the losses of 2000-01 are taken into account, then 50 per cent of the net worth of Cochin Malabar has been eroded.
It may further be noted that the Bangurs had already moved the Company Law Board against Mr Gazdar alleging "mismanagement and siphoning off funds''. A final decision on this matter is yet to come.
However, the advertisement stated that the company's decision to sell the rubber estate was subject to "permission from the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Ernakulam, as also from Federal Bank and Industrial Development Bank of India". The estate is already mortgaged to banks and financial institutions.
In the last annual general meeting of the shareholders held on December 7, 2001, the present management of the company has passed a resolution regarding the sale of assets despite severe protests from the Bangurs.
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |
Copyright © 2002, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line