Chandra to offload more shares to clear ZTL outstanding within next few weeks?

Subhash Chandra is likely to square the remainder of the amount that is to be paid back to Zee Telefilms Ltd by offloading about 7.5 million shares over the next few weeks. Zee group promoters had earlier borrowed Rs 2200 million from ZTL for the Essel group and had committed to return the amount in full before 30 June.

Three tranches of RS 600 million, RS 500 million and roughly RS 265 million (2.5 million shares were offloaded in the latest transaction on Friday) have been returned leaving a balance of about RS 835 million. However, Zee's promoters also intend to pay interest on the loan, though the total interest liability is not known. The placement of 7.5 million shares will mean the further dilution of Chandra's stake from the estimated current holding of 58.3 per cent to 56.3 per cent or thereabouts.

Merchant banking sources say Friday's placement was with an FII operating out of South-East Asia. According to sources, the Singapore operation of Alliance Capital (headquarters in New York) have taken up the stake. Two other names which have also been seen as possible buyers are Capital Partners Japan and Goldman Sachs.

When initial news of the placement broke, the buzz was that Chandra was going to offload enough stake to square up the ZTL outstanding in one go but that has not happened.

RK Singh, CEO corporate affairs, ZTL, admitted the funds were managed out of Singapore but was noncommittal on other issues other than to say that Chandra doing his utmost to return whatever was remaining at the soonest.

The RS 2200 million is what the Zee Network had reportedly advanced to Essel group investment companies, which was subsequently transferred to cornered bull Ketan Parekh's investment companies.

Meanwhile, the scrip continued to witness heightened activity . It was down 0.29 per cent to RS 103.75 and sank into negative zone on profit booking, coming off from an intra-day high of RS 106.35, reported. The stock had gained 2.21 per cent earlier in the day following the news of Friday's offload.

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