Heineken NV of The Netherlands has become the largest shareholder of United Breweries Ltd (UBL) after its stake purchase on Tuesday took it past liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer, now owns 38.7% in UBL after buying a 1.3% stake on Tuesday from Citicorp Finance India, data on the National Stock Exchange showed on Wednesday. Mallya owns 37.4%.
UBL makes Kingfisher Strong, India's biggest-selling beer, as well as London Pilsner and Kalyani Black Label.
Heineken's new shares had been pledged as collateral for a loan that it extended to parent UB Group, which is controlled by Mallya, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be identified.
Mallya, who also owns grounded Kingfisher Airlines, owed lenders about Rs 6,000 crore as of September. Last year, he sold the majority of United Spirits Ltd to British drinks maker Diageo PLC for $2.1 billion (Rs 13,020 crore).
Heineken did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment outside of business hours in Europe. A UB Group spokesman declined to comment.
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.
Citi's 3.5 million UBL shares cost Heineken Rs 280 crore, at Rs 772.9 each. On Wednesday, UBL shares rose 4.8% to close at Rs 813.