The Burmans, the primary shareholders and promoters of Dabur, an Indian multinational consumer goods company, are making an all-out effort to seize control of Religare Services Limited (REL), a leading diversified financial servicescompany. REL found itself embroiled in controversy since October 2019, following the incarceration of beleaguered Ranbaxy promoter-brothers Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh in a Delhi court. They stand accused of causing a 'wrongful loss' amounting to ₹2,397 crore to one of the subsidiary companies within the group.
How did Dr. Rashmi Saluja turnaround Religare?
In 2018, Dr. Rashmi Saluja, along with five Independent Directors, assumed leadership of the new Religare Board. Dr. Saluja, a multifaceted professional holding a medical degree, a law degree, a Ph.D., and a MBA in finance, with over 25 years of corporate experience, unveiled Religare 2.0, marking a comprehensive turnaround for the esteemed group.
Religare Takeover Bid: Price Wars and Power Struggles
By March 2023, the group accomplished a one-time settlement of ₹2,178 crore with 16 lenders, clearing all outstanding dues. The brand's (Religare Enterprises Limited) share price surged from a mere ₹19 per share in March 2020 to over ₹270 by September 2023, eliciting enthusiastic cheers from investors. The growth trajectory under Dr. Saluja's guidance has been undeniably spectacular, as reflected in these figures.
Despite these achievements, the Burmans, holding 21.25% of the equity capital and 20.15% of the expanded voting share, have disrupted the turnaround party led by Dr. Saluja. Their open offer to acquire an additional 26% stake at ₹2,200 crore through associated entities faces an unexpected hurdle. Mohit Burman, Dabur Group Chairman, and his brother, Gaurav Burman, Director, Dabur Group, are among 32 individuals booked in November by the Mumbai Police due to alleged connections with the Mahadev betting app case.
Mahadev Betting App Scam Impact on Religare Takeover Bid?
The Mahadev Betting Scandal, involving a platform run by UAE-based promoters Saurabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal from Chhattisgarh, led to illegal gambling and daily earnings exceeding ₹200 crore, according to the Enforcement Directorate. Authorities claim the app defrauded people of nearly ₹15,000 crore, prompting an ongoing investigation.
The Burmans vehemently deny their involvement in the betting scandal, dismissing the allegations as a diversionary tactic.
The Burmans fired a salvo at their detractors, maintaining their linkage is a diversionary tactic. The price point of each scrip remains a bone of contention. Mohit Burman, the Dabur Chairman, cites ₹220.15 as the correct price of the share, based on the pricing on the day the Burmans launched the open offer in September this year.
Religare's Corporate Drama Unfolds
As the corporate battle rages on, hopes for resolution within the next 3-4 months remain uncertain. Both parties exchange allegations and counter-allegations, making an amicable resolution improbable. The REL board is yet to designate a representative, intensifying the conflict. The unfolding corporate battle for control of REL captivates observers, who eagerly await the high-stakes drama's trajectory in the coming months.
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