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Saturday, October 3, 1998

Mallya likely to sell Kenyan paints firm 

Chander Mehra  
NAIROBI, OCT 2: Indian industrialist Vijay Mallya is planning to allow a takeover bid of his Kenyan paints company by a Mozambican Asian.

Mallya had acquired Crown-Berger Paints some years ago from the British giant Robbialac. "Plans are at an advanced stage for the H Ramji Group of Mozambique to take over Mallya's UB group's Kenyan subsidiary," the acting managing director Dipak Desai told India Abroad News Service.

The move comes at a time when the company is facing low trading brought about by "crippling interest rates and declining demand since the construction sector and real-estate market are facing severe recession," he said.

Crown-Berger's sales declined by about 7 per cent in 1997 from the previous year, with a turnover of 1.18 billion Kenyan shillings, a 2 per cent reduction, Desai said. The takeover is proceeding according to plans and in accordance with the rules of the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMA).

"The management teams of both companies have already met and discussedthe modalities. All that remains is the approval of the authorities," said Desai. He, however, declined to say whether it would be a total takeover or a reduction of the UB Group's 60 per cent shareholding in favour of H Ramji and Company, which has been operating in Kenya for the past 65 years. H Ramji and Company has interests in the entire East and Central African region, especially in paints, soaps and finance.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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