Mumbai Airport Case: Adani Group Tells Court It Has Extended Time For Bidvest Deal
Passengers wait in line for a security check at the airport in Mumbai. (Photographer: Santosh Verma/Bloomberg New)

Mumbai Airport Case: Adani Group Tells Court It Has Extended Time For Bidvest Deal

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The Adani Group has extended the time to make payments and transfer shares owned by South Africa’s Bidvest Group in GVK Group’s Mumbai International Airport Ltd, the Gautam Adani-led conglomerate told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday.

Adani Group had moved the high court last month seeking execution of its agreement with Bid Services Division Mauritius, a unit of the South African group, for sale of its stake in Mumbai Airport.

"As per the agreement, the date to make necessary payment and transfer the shares was September 30. The date has now been extended to November 7 with consent by the Adani group and Bidvest," Adani's counsel, Vikram Nankarni, told a single bench of Justice AK Menon. Due to the extension, Adani Group was not seeking any urgent relief at this stage, he added.

Nankarni further told the court that as per an order passed by an arbitration court on Sept. 15, GVK Group has been given time till Oct. 31 to deposit the purchase price of Bidvest's shares. If GVK fails to deposit the amount, Bidvest would be free to sell its shares to any third party after securing necessary regulatory permissions.

"Since Adani is not privy to the arbitration proceedings, we are only seeking a direction to Bidvest to inform and give Adani a notice period of two days if GVK does make the deposit by the said date. This would enable Adani to move court," Nankarni said.

Justice Menon, however, refused to pass any such directions and adjourned the matter for further hearing on Nov. 5.

Theshareholders of Mumbai International Airport are:

  • Bidvest Group: 13.50 percent
  • ACSA Global: 10 percent
  • Airports Authority of India: 26 percent
  • GVK Airport Holdings: 50.50 percent

Bidvest had entered into an agreement with Adani Group to sell its entire stake in the airport for a consideration of Rs 1,248 crore, or Rs 77 per share.

In its suit filed on Sept. 4, Adani claimed that its March 5 share purchase agreement with Bidvest, held through its Mauritian arm, is valid, subsisting and binding.

It has sought a direction to the South African company and the other shareholders in MIAL to do everything necessary to give effect to the agreement and, pending final hearing of the suit, direct the company to not create any third-party rights in respect of the process.

According to the petition, GVK Group had exercised its right of first refusal before the 30-day mandated time-frame on April 4.

According to the suit, Bidvest had in April given a notice to GVK Group and ACSA Global along with a copy to the AAI stating it was prepared to transfer the sale shares. GVK purportedly exercised its right under Clause 3.7 of the shareholders agreement (rights of first refusal) to purchase the shares.

However, GVK failed to purchase the same within the time period prescribed in the agreement, the plea said. Instead, it moved the Delhi High Court seeking an injunction against Bidvest from offering or selling its shares to any person other than GVK, Adani said in its suit.

Though the Delhi High Court had on July 2 dismissed the petition noting that the company had not shown its willingness to complete the deal, a division bench later sent the dispute for international arbitration. GVK Group then sought time till Sept. 30 to close the deal, which Bidvest refused.

GVK has control and/or significant influence over the management of MIAL and unless directed by this court will not act or do all such deeds and things, as may be necessary to give effect to the transfer of shared by Bidvest to the plaintiff, the suit said.

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