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United Breweries group spends Rs 400 crore on staff, cuts on Kingfisher

PTI 10 Jun 2012, 18:13:46 IST
New Delhi, Jun 10: Vijay Mallya-led UB Group, whose aviation entity Kingfisher Airlines is passing through turbulent times, spent Rs 400 crore more on its staff across various businesses during the last fiscal.

The group's total staff cost rose to Rs 1,682 crore in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 -- marking an increase of about one-third from Rs 1,274 crore in the previous year.

Barring Kingfisher Airlines, all the other entities saw their employee expenses rise during the last year, shows an analysis of staff costs at the group's seven listed companies.

At Kingfisher, the decline was only marginal to Rs 669 crore in 2011-12, from Rs 676 crore in the previous fiscal.

Among others, United Spirits and United Breweries witnessed most significant increase in their staff costs, while entities like UB Holdings Ltd, Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers, McDowell Holdings and UB Engineering Ltd also saw their respective staff expenses rise during the year.

The combined net sales of these seven group entities are also estimated to have increased by about Rs 4,000 crore (close to 20 per cent) to over Rs 23,000 crore in 2011-12.

While Kingfisher and UB Engineerings recorded lower sales than the previous fiscal, the turnover of all other companies rose during 2011-12.

Huge debts and increased costs have been weighing heavily on Kingfisher Airlines for many months now. An overall weakness in the market has added to the woes of the group, whose market valuation has nearly halved in the past one year to close to Rs 23,000 core.

The market losses have been the highest for Kingfisher, whose market value at about Rs 800 crore is less than one-fourth of the level seen about one year ago.

The analysis shows that the group spent little more than 7 per cent of its total sales on staff during 2011-12, marginally lower than 6.6 per cent during 2010-11.

Incidentally, Kingfisher Airlines recorded the highest ratio of staff costs to total sales among the group companies, even as the issue of on-time payment of salaries to staff has been a major concern for the air carrier for many months now.

The airline's staff bill (Rs 669 crore) accounted for 12.2 per cent of its sales (Rs 5,493 crore) in 2011-12, which was incidentally higher than 10.6 per cent in last fiscal.

At United Spirits, staff costs accounted for 7.7 per cent of sales (up from 5.7 per cent in 2010-11), while it fell to 4.3 per cent at UB Holdings and rose to 5.2 per cent at United Breweries Ltd.

United Spirits' staff costs nearly doubled to Rs 725 crore, while that of United Breweries rose about 30 per cent to Rs 188 crore in 2011-12.