Tuesday, 18 March, 2008

Month's wait for R Power bonus to see light of day

It's 23 days since chairman Anil Ambani declared a 3:5 bonus share issue in Reliance Power on Feb 24. The move aimed at compensating investors for the sharp fall in stock price two weeks after it listed.

“I have been personally concerned by the notional losses arising to millions of long term investors in Reliance Power, as a result of the adverse change in sentiment in global and domestic capital markets. We have taken this one-time measure, to protect and enhance value for all our long-term shareholders,” said Ambani.

Two days prior to the bonus announcement the stock had closed at Rs 416.85, down 7.36 per cent or Rs 33.15 from its issue price of Rs 450. A day after the declaration and first day of trade, Reliance Power shares rose 8 per cent.

Today the Reliance Power stock was at Rs 318.20 on NSE, up 0.84 per cent from Monday which saw the Sensex fall 950 points due to global turmoil.

The bonus issue would lower the cost per share to Rs 269 for individual investors 40 percent lower than the IPO price of Rs 430. The acquisition price would come down to Rs 281 for other investors, or 37 lower than the IPO price of Rs 450.

But investors looking for that succour will have to wait till April 21 when the results of the postal ballots seeking shareholders’ approval will be available. Then it will be a wait for the record date.

“Result of the postal ballot will be declared on Apr 21. After the results, we will intimate SEBI and will follow up the required regulations for bonus issue,” said Paresh Rathod, company secretary of Reliance Power, when contacted by ET Markets.

According to SEBI guidelines, a company must issue the bonus shares within six months from date of announcement.

Further, there are the eligibility criteria. Only shareholders holding shares on record date would be entitled to receive bonus shares. Original allottees from the IPO, but who have sold prior to record date, would not be eligible for the bonus shares.

This move is aimed at checking alleged detractors from a repeat situation of listing day on Feb 11, when the Reliance Power share ended 17 per cent lower.

On listing day, total 6.41 crore shares, or 28 per cent of the net offer to the public, were sold on the BSE and NSE combined.

Reliance Power had written to the Securities and Exchange Board of India seeking an investigation into the price fall, with Ambani accusing rivals for the share fall.

Around 11 crore shares have changed hands till date, according to NSE data. This makes for about 1/3 of total shares held by retail investors who will lose out on the bonus shares.

Reliance Power's IPO closed on Jan 18, receiving an overwhelming response, with commitments of nearly Rs 7,50,000 crore, from nearly 500 institutional investors and 5 million retail investors.

“In the current bearish scenario, if they (Reliance Power) fix the record date in April and the market remains volatile, there are chances the share price may go down significantly. The company is likely taking care about the timing for allotment,” said A Chauhan, fund manager at DMB Wealth Management.