FIs To Await Details Of Sebi Investigation

Mumbai, November 28: | Updated: Nov 29 2002, 05:30am hrs
The financial institutions (FIs) which have a stake of around 40 per cent in Larsen & Toubro (L&T) reacted with a degree of satisfaction at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) order upholding the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) decision to stall Grasims open offer for L&T. The FIs will also seek to know the exact details of the Sebi probe findings before deciding on their next course of action.

Speaking to FE immediately after learning of the SAT order, the chief of one of the FIs which have a substantial stake in L&T said:This obviously means the offer wont go through now. But Sebi will have to finish the probe they have started and come up with the findings.

The FI chief added that they would examine the details of the Sebi probe into whether, as a result of Grasims purchase of around 15 per cent stake in L&T, the company had garnered control of the diversified major. We will have to see the findings of the Sebi probe in detail. That is very important for us, the FI official said.

The FIs, it may be recalled, had opposed the Grasim open offer price of Rs 190 per share, saying it was too low, and had also made it clear to FE that they would not cede control to Grasim or anyone else at any cost.

In fact, FIs have been upping their stake to be clearly in the drivers seat in L&T. The FIs view is that they are happy with the present management at L&T and dont want any change in that set-up.

However, Sebi is probing whether Grasim wielded enough clout in the L&T board through its stakeholding and the two board seats, and effectively controlled the company and its day-to-day functioning, thereby violating the provisions of the takeover code. That probe will be crucial to the future of Grasims involvement in the diversified L&T, where it has already pumped in around Rs 2000 crore.