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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2005

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Mallya to list United Spirits on overseas bourses

Boby Kurian
K. Giriprakash

Mr Mallya also confirmed that he would look at a valuation of Rs 10,000 crore (rougly $2 billion) for United Spirits Ltd.

Bangalore/Toulouse , April 25

THE UB Group Chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya, on Monday disclosed that he would list United Spirits Ltd on overseas bourses, either on the London Stock Exchange or Singapore Stock Exchange.

Speaking to Business Line in Toulouse, Mr Mallya said overseas listing of United Spirits Ltd, which will be the world's third largest spirits marketer by volume, was a distinct possibility.

"We will surely go in for overseas listing either in London or in Singapore," he said. It is learnt that such a move is likely to fructify between the next 18 to 24 months, after Mr Mallya completes the consolidation of his four existing spirits companies - McDowell & Co, Herbertsons, Triumph Distillers & Vintners, and the recently acquired Shaw Wallace & Co - under the banner of United Spirits.

My Mallya's statement about overseas float confirms a speculation that has been doing rounds in the last few weeks. Mr Mallya also confirmed that he would look at a valuation of Rs 10,000 crore (rougly $2 billion) for United Spirits Ltd, which this newspaper had reported earlier as some key associates of the UB Chairman went into the market capitalisation mode. Sources said overseas listing was close to Mr Mallya's heart as he felt that local bourses never did justice to liquor stocks.

A sentiment he echoed in Toulose when he said the many "taboos" associated with the liquor industry came in the way of a proper valuation of his stocks.

United Spirits will have combined sales of 56 million cases, which include a list of 13 million cases brands. It will give the company a 50 per cent share of the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) market pegged at 112 million cases annually. The Indian spirits market is one of the fastest growing in the world with sales projected to grow between eight to 10 per cent in the short to medium term. It must be mentioned that South Korea's leading distilled liquor (Soju) maker, Jinro, attracted a valuation of over $3 billion a few weeks ago.

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