Godfrey Philips Denies Promoters Selling Stake; Lalit Modi Slams Company 
Stacks of cigarettes stand at the Philip Morris International (PMI) Coltabaco SAS production facility in Medellin, Colombia. (Photographer: Nicolo Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg)

Godfrey Philips Denies Promoters Selling Stake; Lalit Modi Slams Company 


Cigarette maker Godfrey Phillips India Ltd. on Tuesday denied reports that its promoter KK Modi Group was planning to sale its stake in the company evoking a strong rebuttal from Lalit Modi, who called the company "blatant lairs".

Godfrey Phillips clarified that it is neither engaged nor privy to any such discussions on "rumoured potential transaction by its promoters", in a regulatory filing,

"The company has also received a clarification from its significant promoter that there has been no decision to put its assets on sale," it said.

"All I can say is they are blatant liars," tweeted Modi, who is abroad, reacting to the company's denial.

Sharing a letter he had written to co-trustees of KK Modi Family trust ahead of a meeting of the board of trustees on Nov. 30, 2019, in which he proposed selling of various assets including family-controlled businesses, Modi termed clarification by Godfrey Phillips as "a complete eyewash".

"So, I am forced to respond with documents. All media knows I have always disclosed clearly every time. As has been the case in the past 13 years," he said. In a series of tweets, Modi further said in the meeting of the trustees, "We agreed to unanimously go forward. Which was the only item on agenda.”

"We did not reach unanimous decision. So, as per trust deed sale was triggered. I was asked to give them 30 days time to make me a proposal. I said sale goes on and if u (sic) convince me. Then we can meet to cancel."

"Just to set the record straight. Yes, all assets of the #kkmodi group are going on sale. I mean all. The other 3 trustees wanted to continue running the business but I felt post my father passing away -- the value will deplete. I voted for sale,"He tweeted on Monday evening.

He had said all companies, land, investments in any other companies—and assets listed of Modi Enterprises, including chemicals business Indofil Industries, would be on sale except for Colorbar, Ego, Beacon Travels and education businesses, which will be retained to be run by other family members, Samir, Bina and Charu.

"The investment banker will have mandate to sell to highest bidder. The banker will be assisted by the group ceo #rkmalhotra who will apprise the trustees headed by #Binamodi with Charu / Samir and me. process 4 sale laid strictly in the trust guidelines and no deviation allowed," he had tweeted.

Lalit Modi, who is the son of late industrialist KK Modi, the family patriarch, had further said he did not approve of Bina Modi running the business empire "as she is not qualified to run such large corporation and will dilute our value".

"Thus, the sale of all companies, properties etc, has been approved at the first trust meeting on 30/11/2019," he stated. Bina Modi, wife of KK Modi, took over as the chairperson of Modi Enterprises in November last year after his demise.

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