March 30: After a two-year wait, the Worli Sea-Face property of Ranjit Chougule, Managing Director of the now-defunct Indage Vintners (originally Champagne Indage) has come into the hands of the buyers Uday Kotak’s family office as the lenders to Indage, Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Co. Ltd (ARC), has been finally able to close the deal finalised at Rs. 385 Cr.
In one of the largest real estate deals in Mumbai, Uday Kotak ,executive chairman of Kotak Mahindra Bank and his family have finally bought the Worli-Sea-Face (your eyes hit the property as you come on the sea-link from Bandra to Worli) super premium Champagne House belonging to the founder Shamrao Chougule’s elder son, Ranjit Chougule, managing director of the now defunct wine firm Indage Vintners for Rs385 crore, according to a Report by Mint. The local brokers feel that it has been sold for 20% over the market price.
Naming the sprawling 2-storey complex on 1900 sq meters as the ‘Champagne House’, because they were pioneers of introducing sparkling wine in India and internationally, could be considered presumptuous by today’s standards. Shamrao Chougule, the patriarch of the family and founder, named his company Champagne Indage but was obliged to change the name eventually to Indage Vintners. They were obliged to call the liquid bottles as ‘Champagne’ as sparkling wine, thanks to the stringent action taken by CIVC, Le Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne which watches like hawk the interest of champagne producers. It would be interesting to see if the new owners want to continue using that name or if the CIVC would initiate a legal action, if not done so already.
Champagne House has been under the possession of the lenders to Indage Vintners, Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Co. Ltd for the last three years. In 2016, Kotak family office entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Edelweiss to buy the property under which around Rs30 crore was reportedly paid in advance.
However, the deal could not be closed as the Chougules and some other tenants continued to occupy the bungalow. “As the transaction was not able to be closed, they (Edelweiss) even approached a few developers to sell the property. Now, the tenants have been vacated and everything is settled,” according to the report.
Chougule reportedly confirmed through an email that Kotak’s family office has done a “transaction with Edelweiss, our lenders, for our asset in Worli.” The lenders however declined to comment on the transaction.
Founded by Shamrao Chougule as Champagne Indage, it was a pioneer in the wine industry and more specifically sparkling wine known as Marquis de Pompadour in India and exported as Omar Khayyam according to the export commitment of the license conditions, Hit by the global financial crisis in 2008 and some reckless decisions by the management in the hindsight, including buying wineries abroad at exorbitant prices when the prices crashed soon after their purchase, the company came under mounting debts. In 2010, Bombay high court issued a winding-up order to the company. Edelweiss ARC bought out its loan following which the property came under its possession.
The transaction is unlikely to alleviate the problems of the employees who did not get their salaries or creditors like wine and grape suppliers to the company, if they have any outstanding demand. Neither can the Chougule family hope to see any of that money. It has been merely a transaction between the lenders and the new buyers of the property, and has been simply reported for our readers who are following the Indage story.
For some of the related Articles, please visit:
Indage Struggling for Survival
Blog: Indage Vintners is NOT Bankrupt
Editorial : Carry on Indage
Troubled Indage Champagne Losing Fizz
No Champagne for Indage Now
Chateau Indage acquires Australian winery
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