The Delhi High Court today sought response of Vikram Bakshi, estranged partner of McDonald India on the company’s plea seeking enforcement of an arbitral award to transfer shares in their joint venture to it. The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) in its September 12, 2017, order had directed Bakshi to sell his stake in the joint venture (JV), Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt Ltd (CPRL), to McDonald’s India Pvt Ltd (MIPL).
By a 2-1 majority, the LCIA in its partial award had asked Bakshi to transfer his 1,45,600 shares in CPRL to McDonald’s at a fair valuation in accordance with their JV agreement. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued a notice to Bakshi and sought his response to the plea by December 7, the next date of hearing. MIPL, represented by senior advocate Rajiv Nagar, in its plea has apart from seeking enforcement of the award also asked for an extension of an interim order passed by the high court in 2013 to maintain status quo regarding the shareholding in CPRL.
The December 2, 2013, order of the high court had recorded a statement made on behalf of Bakshi that status quo will be maintained with regard to shareholding in CPRL till culmination of arbitral proceedings. Bakshi’s lawyers, including senior advocate N K Kaul, said there was no need to extend the 2013 order as it still continues to operate since the LCIA award was a partial one.
“MIPL (McDonald’s India Pvt. Ltd) has filed an application to the Delhi high court to progress the enforcement of the partial award rendered in its favour by the London Court of International Arbitration. At the same time, MIPL will continue with its appeal at NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal) and also continue to take all other measures and steps to exercise our legal and contractual rights in related matters,” said a McDonald’s India spokesperson, in an emailed reply to a query.
In view of the submission by Bakshi’s lawyers, the court did not pass any interim orders. It, however, said that Bakshi, and his company Bakshi Holdings, would be bound by the statement. MIPL had approached the LCIA after Bakshi rejected its offer to buy out his stake in CPRL. He had reportedly rejected MIPL’s offer as he felt that its valuation of the shares was lower than what it actually was.