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Trouble mounts for Sahara Chief Subrata Roy

LONDON: More bad news poured in for the Sahara Group on the eve of Subrata Roy completing a year in jail. In a fresh twist to the crisis-hit group’s efforts to raise funds, its iconic hotel property Grosvenor House, estimated to be worth over Rs 5,000 crore, has been put on sale by lenders.

Grosvenor House, a landmark property on Park Lane here, is one of the three marquee hotels owned by Sahara outside India, the other two being Plaza and Dream Downtown in New York.

Sahara Group has been trying to raise funds for months to secure release of its chief Roy, as also that of two other senior officials, from Tihar Jail in New Delhi, where they have been lodged for one year. These three hotels have been at the centre of these fund-raising plans.

According to a report in the Telegraph here, Grosvenor House may fetch about 500 million British pounds, more than the 470 million pounds that Sahara Grosvenor House Hospitality had paid for the hotel in 2010.

The report further said that Deloitte was appointed administrators to Sahara last night after “it defaulted on debts tied to the hotel” and they will work with realty consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to find a buyer.

The three iconic hotels – The Plaza and Dream Downtown in New York and Grosvenor House in London – were acquired by Sahara between 2010 and 2012 at an estimated valuation of $1.55 billion. Market experts, however, peg their current valuation at upwards of $2.2 billion, after taking into account the appreciation in their values.

Sahara was in talks with US-based Mirach Capital for a syndicate loan arrangement linked to the three properties to replace an existing loan from Bank of China, but the deal fell apart and the two parties warned each other of legal action.

The group has been engaged in a legal battle with Indian markets regulator Sebi for a long time over repayment of investor dues totaling over Rs 20,000 crore. Sahara, however, claims it has already repaid 95% of the investors directly.subrata-roy3_505_081914091627


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