FM may sell part of SUUTI holding in Axis Bank, ITC

NEW DELHI, Jan 13: The Finance Ministry may consider selling part of its stake in Axis Bank and ITC, held through SUUTI, in next few months, an official said.
As on September 30, 2018, Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India (SUUTI) held around 9.63 per cent stake in Axis Bank, 7.97 per cent in ITC and 1.80 per cent in L&T.
While the government is waiting for L&T to launch a buyback offer to tender its shares; for holding in Axis Bank and ITC, it would consider off-market deals, an official said.
“We are open to selling stake in Axis Bank and ITC through bulk or block deals. It all depends on the valuation,” the official told PTI.
Shares of Axis Bank settled at Rs 666.50, up 0.53 per cent, while ITC was up 2.02 per cent at Rs 295.40 at close of market hours on January 11.
A bulk deal is a deal in which more than 0.5 per cent of the total number of shares of a listed company are sold or bought by a single investor in the open market. In a block deal, two parties make a transaction involving shares worth at least Rs 5 crore. Block deal transactions are conducted in a separate trading window.
Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has already approached market regulator Sebi for launching a share buyback programme. The government would participate in the buyback programme, and is expecting to get around Rs 700 crore.
The government had sold 2.5 per cent stake in L&T held through SUUTI in June 2017 through block deals in the market.
In February 2017, the government had raised Rs 6,700 crore through sale of 2 per cent stake held through SUUTI in tobacco-to-FMCG firm ITC.
In November 2016 it sold 1.63 per cent in L&T, while in March 2014 it had sold 9 per cent stake in Axis Bank to raise Rs 5,500 crore through block deals.
SUUTI holdings in ITC, Axis Bank and L&T are also part of Bharat 22 exchange-traded fund (ETF).
The government, which has set a divestment target of Rs 80,000 crore for 2018-19, has so far raised over Rs 34,000 crore. (PTI)


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