New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Thursday asked South African investor Bidvest Group Ltd to respond to an injunction filed by Mumbai-based conglomerate GVK to stop Bidvest from selling its stake in Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL).
Bidvest counsel Amit Sibal told the court that the company “will not take steps to sell the shares. Will maintain the status quo."
The court directed Bidvest to file its reply in a week and said arguments will begin on 29 April. The two companies were given time to reach a settlement but failed to do so.
GVK had filed an injunction in the Delhi high court to block its South African partner Bidvest from selling its stake in MIAL to a third party, Adani Group, as reported by Mint on 23 March 2019.
MIAL runs the airport in Mumbai, one of the busiest in India, as a special purpose joint venture company in which GVK initially owned a 50.5% stake, and two South African companies, Bidvest and ACSA Gobal Ltd, held 13.5% and 10%, respectively. The remaining 26% is held by state-run Airports Authority of India.
On 25 February, GVK Airport Holdings Ltd, a unit of GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd, signed an agreement with the Bidvest Group, exercising its “right of first refusal" to acquire its 13.5% stake. The GVK group did not specify the reason for doing so. However, the move followed reports that the Adani Group was interested in picking up Bidvest and ACSA’s stakes in MIAL.
The Adani Group is the latest entrant into India’s airport sector. In February, Adani Enterprises Ltd won the rights to run five of the six domestic airports that are being privatized, beating rival bidders by a steep margin.
In a regulatory filing on 5 March, ACSA Global informed its shareholders that it has been approached with an offer to acquire its stake in MIAL. Subsequently, ACSA Global issued a right of first refusal notice to the existing shareholders of MIAL, it said in the filing without disclosing the name of the potential buyer.