United Spirits has begun a deleveraging process, raising INR11bn (US$180m) in two deals to help pay off debt from its takeover of Scotch whisky firm Whyte & Mackay.

United Spirits said today (29 June) that it has raised INR9bn by Shaw Wallace selling all of its 10.3m shares in the group, via the Mumbai Stock Exchange. A further share sale on the National Stock Exchange raised INR2bn.

The fresh finance will be used to meet a September payment on a US$625m loan taken out to fund the acquisition of Whyte & Mackay, bought for $1.18bn in 2007. 

The move marks the beginning of a fresh deleveraging strategy by United Spirits (USL), which is part of Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya's UB Group and controls more than two thirds of India's spirits market.

USL's consolidated debt was INR75bn before today's deals.

On Friday, a USL source told just-drinks that two of the world's top five private equity firms have offered to invest US$200-300m in the group.

Talks with Diageo over a potential stake sale are also ongoing, the source said.