A highly expensive yacht acquired by the family of Cyrus Mistry earlier this year has raised eyebrows in both corporate and bureaucratic circles.
The Rs 700 crore acquisition is not illegal, it is the timing.
The Mistrys, promoters of Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) group, took delivery of the yacht earlier in 2021, the acquisition looked perfectly sensitive on paper but grossly insensitive otherwise because it happened in the midst of a raging pandemic that killed over 350,000 this year alone.
This is the second yacht the family acquired from the same company in recent times. The family of Shapoor Mistry along with friends like Eddie Poonawala and Homi Katgara regularly holiday on yachts, routine with Indian business families. Presently the yachts have been put in the charter market, which is an usual practice by yacht owners.
But the question many are asking is whether Indian banks, financial institutions or retail shareholders funded Mistry’s $100 million superyacht Tatiana? The development of the superyacht purchase during these difficult times may invite additional scrutiny from regulators and corporate governance experts, claim sources.
An official spokesperson of the SP group said the company has no comments to offer on the acquisition of the vessel.
Top corporate sources said the 262 feet long yacht, Tatiana, is built by Turkish company Bilgin Yachts. The Mistrys took delivery of the vessel earlier this year even as their companies are plagued with debt issues and a challenging business environment.
Ranked among the top 150 yachts in the world in terms of length, the mega yacht Titania is the largest yacht built in Turkey boasting steel hull and aluminium superstructure. The vessel’s naval architecture is by Unique Yacht Design and interiors by H2 Yacht Design. The yacht is the first of the Bilgin 263 series, showcasing striking exterior lines and modern interiors with huge deck spaces and innovative contemporary layout. The yacht accommodates up to 12 guests in 8 deluxe suites and a crew of 20.
Tatiana’s vast range of inside spaces include an upper salon and vast main salon with separate lounge and dining area. Each social space holds its own entertainment center including a cinema room. The yacht holds a beautiful swimming pool, bar, and lounge space as also as a steam room, massage room and fully equipped gym. The super yacht which was delivered earlier this year has been put in the charter market. Details of the yacht can be accessed at https://www.yachtcharterfleet.com/luxury-charter-yacht-49357/tatiana.htm
Tatiana is the second yacht that the Mistrys have acquired from Bilgin. Tatiana, claim sources, has a Cayman Island flag and is presently in the Marmara Sea off Turkey. The first yacht, Tatiana1, has a Malta flag and is presently around Bodrum (Turkey).
While the entity used to acquire the superyacht is shrouded in mystery, Bilgin’s Yacht in its own magazine has quoted Brahma Advani, a representative of the owner as, “The owner wanted to use the yacht for special conferences or board meetings besides using it for his and family’s pleasure and also occasionally deploy the yacht on the charter market. His ultimate goal is to build a good size fleet of superyachts.” Interestingly, Advani is none other than former SCI executive B N Advani or Brahma Nand Advani who has been a consultant to the Shapoorji Pallonji Forbes Shipping Ltd.
The acquisition of the super yacht comes at a time when Mistry-owned SP Group has been undergoing financial restructuring including availing of a One Time Resolution (OTR). In September 2020, the SP Group had sought relief to restructure its Rs 10,900-crore of debt under the resolution framework for pandemic-related stress. SP Group had applied under the OTR, under which the company had asked the loan repayment timeline to be extended by two years. The OTR was approved by the Reserve Bank of India in the last week of March 2021.
This is not all. The SP Group has also been questioned by SEBI and the Registrar of Companies, Mumbai for its inability to fully repay the inter-corporate deposits of Rs. 2341 crore which was due to be paid within 90 days of taking Sterling Wilson Solar IPO in August 2019. SP Group has repeatedly waivered on the timelines of the repayment and Rs. 760 crore (approximately $100m) is outstanding and due to be paid by September 2021 as per the renegotiated timeline.