Super-Max promoters approach tribunal against PE backer Actis

Mumbai-based razor blade manufacturer Super-Max Group has approached the Mumbai bench of National Company Appellate Tribunal against its private equity backer Actis alleging that the investor is attempting to wrest control of the business.

In a case, which was filed in May, Super-Max promoter Rakesh Malhotra accused Actis of suppression of promoters and operational mismanagement. He also accused that the London-based PE firm is trying to oust him. The case will come up for hearing on 18 December.

Actis had invested around $225 million in return for a 29.17% stake in Super-Max Group in March 2011.

“The promoters have filed the case wrongly and we can prove to the tribunal that there is neither suppression of promoters nor any operational mismanagement. We are contesting the case,” said a person close to the development, requesting anonymity as the matter is sub judice.

Actis currently holds 40.17% in Super-Max while Malhotra owns the balance 59.83%.

Malhotra is seeking multiple reliefs, including a possible buyback of shares held by Actis, which he fears the latter could sell to a rival, The Times of India reported.

The PE fund is in talks with Gillette India Ltd, a division of consumer major P&G and domestic consumer firm Emami Ltd for a possible stake sale, according to the report.

Email queries sent to both the companies remained unanswered till filing this report. Email queries sent to Super-Max Personal Care Pvt. Ltd and Actis also did not elicit any response.

The development comes within a year after the Malhotra family—which owns Super-Max Personal Care and Vidyut Metallics Pvt. Ltd through which it controls Super-Max Group—decided to smoke the peace pipe after waging a court battle over the control of the group.

The dispute over the ownership control of the firm between Rakesh Malhotra and his father Rajinder Kumar Malhotra had started in 2014. In December 2015, the Bombay High Court allowed Rajinder to take control of the group. Rakesh, the eldest son of Rajinder, had filed an appeal through Super-Max Personal Care challenging a previous Company Law Board order that asked former directors of the firm to hand over assets of Vidyut Metallics to directors appointed by Rajinder in December 2012. Later, the promoters amicably settled the dispute.

Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas is representing Actis in the case while advocate Zal Andhyarujina is appearing for directors nominated by the PE fund. Senior counsel Ravi Kadam is representing Super-Max.

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