If needed, I am willing to quit: Subhiksha chief

February 25th, 2009 - 11:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 25 (IANS) R. Subramanian, managing director of the troubled retail chain Subhiksha, Wednesday said he was ready to quit if it would help in reviving the company.
“If there is a need to install a new management for the better future of the business, its employees and customers, then I shall be more than happy to facilitate that and play an appropriate role as a financial stakeholder,” Subramanian said in a statement.

He, however, added: “I cannot leave the system in the lurch till one is sure that the company is back on track and all stakeholders are taken care of adequately.”

The statement comes in the wake of media reports that the 23-percent stake holder ICICI Venture is working with other investors to revive Subhiksha.

“There is no question of any greater control ICICI Venture can exercise than presently under the rights they already have and have been exercising,” Subramanian later told IANS.

“There is no contradiction - even if I am to step down that can be only when I am sure that we have the right people in place who can take care of the company and take it forward,” he added.

Taking a dig at ICICI Venture officials, who have resigned from the Subhiksha board this month, Subramanian said: “Would you leave the boat in the middle of a rough sea and escape? That would be like what ICICI venture has done by trying to withdraw nominees from the board.”

ICICI Venture sold a portion of its holding in the cash-strapped retail chain to Zash Investment - the private equity fund owned by Wipro’s Azim Premji - for Rs.2.3 billion (Rs.230 crore) in March last year.

Subhiksha, with a debt burden of over Rs.7.5 billion (Rs.750 crore), is looking for a Rs.3 billion (Rs.300 crore) cash infusion to stay afloat.

“All employees and banks and stakeholders can be reassured that I am not walking out of this nor trying to evade or escape responsibility for resolving the issues that we face today due to lack of liquidity and the wrong decision on letting equity not flow into the company,” Subramanian said.

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