17032015Tue

Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#KALYANI: Heineken becomes top shareholder in United Breweries

Dutch beer giant Heineken has become the largest shareholder of India's United Breweries after its stake overtook that of fpast that of liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer, now owns 38.7 percent after buying 1.3 percent on Tuesday from Citicorp Finance India, according to data on the National Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Mallya owns 37.4 percent.

United Breweries makes Kingfisher Strong, India's biggest-selling beer, as well as London Pilsner and Kalyani Black Label.

According to an unidentified source quoted by Reuters, Heineken's new shares had been pledged as collateral for a loan it extended to parent UB Group, which is controlled by Mallya.

Mallya, who also owns grounded Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, owed lenders about 60 billion rupees as of September.  Last year, he sold the majority of United Spirits Ltd to British drinks maker Diageo PLC for $2.1 billion.

In 2004, United Breweries entered into a joint venture with Scottish and Newcastle India Pvt Ltd, now owned by Heineken, to make and market a number of beverages. In 2009, it started to manufacture and distribute Heineken beer in India.

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