Vijay Mallya, United Spirits Ltd Chairman, Wants To 'Retire And Enjoy Life'

25/11/2015 12:27 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Mark Thompson via Getty Images
AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 31: Force India Chairman Vijay Mallya walks along the paddock during practice ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 31, 2014 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Once the epitome of the partying millionaire and 'king of good times', beleaguered business mogul and chairman of United Spirits Ltd (USL), Vijay Mallya on Tuesday, suggested on the sidelines of an annual general meeting of USL, that he may retire after turning 60 next month.

"At 60, normally, people think of retiring and enjoying life. I am also thinking of retiring and enjoying life. There is nothing wrong in that," Mallya told reporters on the margins of the 16th annual general meeting (AGM) of United Spirits Ltd (USL) here.

Sporting a French beard and a ponytail, Mallya, however, hastened to clarify that he was not retiring as yet.

Mallya has recently been declared a 'wilful' defaulter by the State Bank of India, who'd lent him Rs 1,600 crore of the nearly Rs 7,000 crore that the former boss of Kingfisher Airlines had taken from 16 banks to salvage the fleet's fate.

Mallya's observations follow a directive by British liquor major Diageo, which bought majority stake (54.7 percent) in USL in 2012 and took control, asking him in April to step down from the board as chairman and director, as it had lost confidence in him.

Diageo also appointed global audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India to do forensic investigation of its accounts, following discrepancies, including financial irregularities, which included writing off Rs.7,200 crore from the books.

"There is no operational loss. Our brands are doing well, as we have enviable stable portfolio of brands. We are also concentrating on premium plus brands. Business wise, we are profitable," Mallya told investors at the AGM.

A shareholder, however, advised Diageo and Mallya to resolve their differences mutually instead of quarrelling like school boys in public.

Mallya, who holds a mere 4.07 percent of equity stake in USL has refused to step down.

According to the annual report for fiscal 2014-15, the Rs.8,353-crore USL has emerged as the world's second largest spirits firm, with over 117 million cases of 140 brands, produced and sold annually.

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