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India’s largest beer brewer, United Breweries, which makes and sells Kingfisher and Heineken, has requested that its controversial former controlling shareholder, Vijay Mallya, step down as its non-executive chairman.
The Indian company, which is now controlled by Heineken, said it has sent an email to Mr Mallya in an e-mail, urging him to comply with a Securities and Exchange Board of India ban on him holding any position as a director or senior manager of listed companies.
Heineken, which currently owns 43 percent of United Breweries, finds itself in an awkward position vis-à-vis its Indian joint venture partner, as it could face regulatory trouble – or the prospect of a long legal battle – if it cannot persuade Mr Mallya.
Mr Mallya and his private holding companies still own nearly 30 per cent of United Breweries, which dominates India’s beer market, selling around half of all the beer consumed in India.
Mr Mallya has come under mounting pressure from the Indian government, and its regulatory agencies, which are irate over his failure to repay loans left by the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines. Mr Mallya is currently living in London, though the Indian government is attempting to mount extradition proceedings against him.