Vijay Mallya-promoted United Spirits Ltd (USL) the flagship company of the UB Group, is weighing selling a 49-per cent stake in its UK subsidiary Whyte & Mackay (W&M), to pay off debt, The Times reported.
The move comes after the liquor baron had in February 2009 tried to sell 49 per cent of W&M for more than £200 million, (See: Mallya may sell up to 49 per cent in Whyte & Mackay) but found no takers due to the global economic crisis.
The paper said that the current move is aimed at reducing the group debts, currently at around $4 billion, including those of its troubled Kingfisher Airlines.
The Indian billionaire told the daily that USL, which has debts of nearly $1.7 billion had acquired W&M in 2007 from South African entrepreneur Vivian Imerman for $1.2 billion, is considering selling a 49-per cent stake in the Scottish distiller.
Quoting Ravi Nedungadi, the CFO of Vijay Mallya's UB Group, the paper said that "a number of private equity players" have shown interest in buying a stake in W&M, which owns Dalmore single malt whiskey and Vladivar vodka.
Nedungadi, however, denied that the proceeds from the sale would be used to pay off Kingfisher Airlines' debt.