Poddar plays white knight again in Kalindee-Texmaco deal

Saroj Poddar of Adventz Group is in the middle of another takeover battle.

This time, the promoters of Kalindee Rail Nirman Ltd have decided to make a preferential allotment of shares in the company to Poddar’s Texmaco Rail and Engineering, after a hostile takeover attempt by little-known Jupiter Metal of the Om Kothari group.

Jaipur-based Om Kothari is involved in many infrastructure projects. It recently made news in the pink city when it bought a massive haveli (old style bungalow) for close to Rs 210 crore from the Bangur family.

The Adventz chief is in the news after his plan to buy UB Group’s Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers from Vijay Mallya hit a wall with a hostile takeover attempt by S C Mehta of Deepak Fertilisers. Now comes the Kalindee Rail development.

The promoters of Kalindee have only 15.63 per cent stake in the company and, thus, became a sitting duck for the takeover attempt. Last week, the Om Kothari group made a conditional open offer to buy out a minimum of 26 per cent stake in Kalindee for Rs 65 a share. But Kalindee on Saturday said its board had decided to make a preferential allotment of shares, which would give a 24.5 per cent stake to Poddar’s Texmaco. The preferential offer is at Rs 65 a share.

1373737167-8893Kalindee’s share had closed at Rs 72.55 a share on Friday, gaining 6.3 per cent, as the promoters started making plans on how to avoid the takeover attempt. Texmaco shares closed at Rs 37.85, gaining 13.67 per cent.

Poddar said, “They approached us and after evaluation, we thought it would be a good move, given the synergies that the two companies have. It will have a significant impact on Texmaco’s finances as well, because we will be able to diversify our product offering.”

Asked if Poddar would also launch a counter offer, he said: “We have not decided as yet. But we will do whatever the law requires us to do.”

Insiders said Kalindee had also sought help from its former equity partner, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), to come in as a white knight and save them from a takeover. An L&T spokesperson declined to comment. But an insider said L&T had already developed its own capabilities in the railway construction business and Kalindee was no longer a strategic investment for the company. L&T holds around 12 per cent stake in Kalindee.

The other takeover battle of Poddar began after he joined hands with UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya to keep Deepak Fertilisers out of the race. Deepak has already cornered 24.5 per cent stake in MCF.