Mumbai: Stock market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has hit Varun Shipping with a notice of a ban from accessing and trading on the bourses unless shareholder grievances are resolved within the next 30 days.
Investors in the Mumbai-based company have registered a total of 90 complaints regarding non-receipt of dividends declared and/or non-receipt of interest due for delay in dividend payout in some cases. SEBI wants these complaints resolved before May 24, or else, it will restrain the shipowner’s promoters from accessing the securities market.
Varun Shipping, predominantly a liquefied petroleum gas carrier, has been passing through difficult financial times since the global financial meltdown in 2008, and had not paid salaries to its seagoing employees for over six months in 2014, when it was threatened by the Director-General of Shipping with a cancellation of its shipping licence.
The company underwent extensive restructuring, formed three separate companies for handling its different divisions, and recovered its licence in the name of Varun Global, a ship management company to run the vessels owned by Varun Gas. It also got seven of its gas carriers drydocked and refurbished at Dubai Drydocks World in the second half of 2014.
Earlier, the company had declared a dividend of INR0.50 per INR10 share for the financial year 2011-12. Several investors have complained that even this token dividend has not reached them.
Varun’s managing director Yudhishthir Khatau denied that there were pending issues with shareholders. “We promoters have brought in fresh equity, have foregone our dividends and have resolved all issues with the investors,” he told Splash. “We have not used the company’s money at all for this. The entire fresh contribution has been from Varun’s promoters.”