It has been five days since the wide rift between the two promoters of IndiGo came to light and given by the exchanges between the two, it seems that the floodgates have just been opened.
Rahul Bhatia's InterGlobe Enterprises issued yet another statement today, insisting that the group has helped IndiGo extensively since its inception via personal loans and guarantees while Rakesh Gangwal has been in safe harbour.
"..the IGE Group went ahead to continue to support the startup without in any way diluting Mr Gangwal’s potential upside. Mr Kapil Bhatia and Mr Rahul Bhatia extended personal loans to IndiGo and personal guarantees to the banks for diverse financing needs of IndiGo such as pre-delivery payments, aircraft acquisition, and working capital requirements. Starting from financial year 2005-06 at a level of Rs.143 Crores of personal guarantees by financial year 2009-10, the aggregate financial exposure of IGE, Mr Kapil Bhatia and Mr. Rahul Bhatia was well over Rs. 1100 Crores (consisting of equity, NCPS, and guarantees) while Mr Gangwal was in safe harbour with equity exposure of less than Rs.15 Crores; with no personal loans or guarantees or any other financial obligations for IndiGo," InterGlobe said in the statement.
As such, the risk ratio became almost 80:1 as between the IGE Group and Gangwal, InterGlobe said, adding that the personal guarantees of Kapil Bhatia and his son Rahul Bhatia continued to be in force until end of March 2012.
"...by that time IndiGo – which Mr Gangwal equates to a “paan ki dukaan” - had an adequate balance sheet to support itself," InterGlobe said, in yet another response to Gangwal's remark.
IGE Group said that it has played the most significant role in nurturing IndiGo to what it is today and Gangwal was missing in action during the turbulent period of a fledgeling airline.
The Bhatia group also said that the public listing of IndiGo was done on insistence of Gangwal and the shareholders' agreement was struck between seasoned business people who made their own assessment of risks.
"Even at that stage (2015), the parties continued to reaffirm their mutual rights and obligations to maintain the control structure and to support each other in ensuring the implementation of their mutual agreement," InterGlobe said.
In a letter dated Jul 8 to SEBI, Gangwal had sought regulatory intervention regarding disagreements with Rahul Bhatia's InterGlobe. In the letter, Gangwal had claimed that the corporate governance standards have been falling at IndiGo and unusual rights are available with InterGlobe.
"We believe that this whole set of events goes far beyond just poor governance and even a "paan ki dukaan" would have handled these matters with more grace. We leave it to the shareholders to make their own assessment of these events," Rakesh Gangwal had told SEBI.
While Bhatia's InterGlobe had issued a statement on related party transactions, which, as per the letter from Gangwal, is at the centre of the rift, the group had clarified further on Friday regarding shareholders agreement.
"Shareholders’ agreement was negotiated in 2006 and amended twice in 2015 as a precursor to IPO to comply with statutory requirements. Mr Gangwal talks about unusual rights of IGE as a shareholder and promoter, but he fails to give even one instance where there has been any misuse of any such right," the group had said.
As of March 31, the two promoters hold 74.93 percent share, while the rest 25.07 percent is held by the public. Rahul Bhatia and his associates hold the highest stake in the company at 38.26 percent, followed by Rakesh Gangwal and his associates at 36.68 percent.
First Published: IST