VTB is the investment management arm of Russia-based state-run financial services giant VTB Group and says the sale would help it to repay debt. VTB Bank, which is the first Russian firm to get a banking licence in India, is one of the largest lenders in the Essel Group.
As reported, Subhash Chandra-promoted cash-strapped Essel Group’s subsidiary Essel Media is the largest promoter group entity with a 10.71% stake in Zee. The total promoter holding in Zee is 22.37%, while the rest is held by the public.
VTB Capital is just the security agent acting on behalf of VTB Bank (Europe) SE, Austria branch, LLC, VTB Capital Holding IB and VTB Bank (Europe), which are lenders to Essel Media. These lenders gave loans to Essel Media in September 2017 against shares of Zee (held by Essel Media) as the collateral.
VYB said: “Pursuant to its rights under the (loan) facility, and upon instruction from the lenders, VTB Capital has enforced certain security rights granted to the lenders in order to protect the interests of the lenders in accordance with the terms of the financing arrangement."
Punit Goenka, CEO of ZEEL had already told investors, including several mutual funds, in a conference call that VTB Capital has not invoked any of those pledged shares and that the loan sought from VTB Capital, was always included in the total loan against shares disclosed to the market.
As per him, 90% of the current 22.37% of the promoter shareholding of ZEEL was pledged and the number of pledged shares has increased compared to the data as on 30 June, when it stood at nearly one-third of promoters' 35.79% shareholding in the company, translating to a pledge of over 210 million shares.
At present, promoters of Essel Group have a debt of around ₹11,000 crore. Essel Group companies together owe another ₹11,400 crore separately.