Truce: Lalit Modi now in talks with family on Godfrey Phillips asset sale

New Delhi (IANS) After differences among members of the K.K. Modi Family Trust on the sale of assets came out in the open earlier this week, there seems to be some truce among the family members as Lalit Modi, in his latest statement has said that the family is in talks for a solution in the matter to safeguard the interest of the shareholders.

The statement gains significance as it comes as a toned-down version from the UK-based businessman, who publicly opposed the Godfrey Phillips India's official stand that there are no talks of stake sale and called the denial a lie.

He, rather said on Monday that all the assets of the K.K. Modi Family Trust are up for sale.

"While the family does not want to enter into a discussion in the public domain, what needs to be clearly understood is that all family members are working on a solution to safeguard the interest of all shareholders," a statement from Lalit Modi said.

Modi further said that Godfrey Phillips India is "not fully conversant" with the efforts of the Modi family to find an amicable solution to some issues that are in the process of discussion.

Modi also emphasised the need for new investments into the group for its growth. "I believe that the best possible solution is, if we as a family group, and majority shareholders allow new strategic investments into the group. This is the only way to tap the growth potential of this market comprehensively," he said.

"Attention to this issue is crucially important to all concerned and the future of the company."

The proposed sale of cigarette-to-retail major Godfrey Phillips India laid bare the differences in the Modi family over both the sale of assets and the management control.

Asserting that all the assets of the group would be up for sale, Lalit Modi had also questioned the credentials of his mother Bina Modi as the President and Managing Director of Godfrey Phillips India.

"I did not approve #Binamodi to run the #empire as she is not qualified to run such a large corporation and will dilute our value. Thus the sale of all companies, properties etc has been approved at the first trust meeting on 30/ 11/2019. The full sale must be completed by 29/11/2020," he said on Monday in one of his several tweets.

The difference regarding the sale of assets comes in the backdrop of the death of K.K. Modi in November last year. Post his death, his wife Bina Modi was appointed as the President and Managing Director of the company. In 2014, she joined the company as an independent director.

K.K. Modi, the patriarch of one of the country's oldest and significant business houses, left behind a trust deed, a few clauses of which have triggered the likelihood of asset sale by the family.

Letters written by Lalit Modi to the board of directors of Godfrey Phillips of India says that the trust deed states that the entire assets of the family will be sold if there is no unanimous decision among all the trustees on whether to partially or fully sell the family business.
 

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