Bangalore: UB groups’ spirits arm, United Spirits Ltd (USL) has reduced its total debt and expects lower interest costs. The total debt of the world’s second largest spirits maker by volume has been pared from Rs7,360.8 crore in March 2009 to Rs5,509.4 crore as on December 2009.
The Whyte & Mackay acquisition debt with recourse to USL has been trimmed from Rs3,143 crore in March 2009 to Rs433 crore in December 2009 post the sale of treasure stock worth Rs1,050 crore and a $350 million qualified institutional placement in the latter half of 2009.
In May 2007, USL acquired Scottish whisky maker, Whyte and Mackay for US$1.18 billion with a $625 million loan. The lower debt “will bring down interest costs substantially going forward,” said the company in a recent analysts meet presentation put out on its website.
On Tuesday, the UB Group which has been under heavy debts both from the spirits business and its airline business announced its decision to divest its 10.27% stake in drug maker Aventis Pharma Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of French multinational drug maker Sanofi-Aventis SA, for around Rs414 crore. The proceeds will go towards settling debts of United Breweries Holdings Ltd, the group holding company.