Murugappa Group Hikes Stake In GFCL To 13%

Chennai, February 27: | Updated: Feb 28 2003, 05:30am hrs
Murugappa Group has further enhanced its stake in the Andhra Pradesh government-owned Godavari Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd (GFCL) close to 13 per cent through its subsidiary Coromandel Fertilisers Ltd (Coromandel). The AP government is planning to sell its 26 per cent stake in the fertiliser company as part of its disinvestment programme by end-March.

The company, in a filing with The Stock Exchange, Mumbai (BSE) has said that it has acquired 8,50,000 shares amounting to 2.66 per cent of GFCL from the open market in four tranches taking its total shareholding to 12.96 per cent as on February 25, 2003 from 10.31 per cent as on December 31, 2002.

According to the company filing, on January 7, it picked up 3,00,000 shares from the open market, 1,50,000 on January 27, 1,00,000 shares February 14 and 3,00,000 shares on February 25. Both the company officials, when contacted, declined to comment. Earlier, Murugappa Group had said that it was keen to pick up the controlling stake in GFCL if the AP government put its 25.87 per cent stake on block. This will help the Chennai-based group to emerge as one of the largest producers of fertiliser in the region. It has recently consolidated its fertiliser business by bringing in Coromandel Fertiliser under its flagship company EID Parry as a subsidiary. While Coromandel has a capacity to manufacture around six lakh tonne of different variety of ammonium phopshate, EID Parry has a turnover of Rs 1,507 crore and has a capacity to produce 2.25 lakh tonne of ammonium phosphate/sulphate and 1.32 lakh tonne super phosphate. Coromandel Fertiliser is a cash-rich company with an equity capital of 19.46 crore as of December 31, 2002 and has reserve and surplus exceeding Rs 195 crore. It has clocked a turnover of Rs 150.26 crore for quarter ending 31 December, 2002 and posted a Rs 8.3 crore. The company stock closed lower at Rs 64.95 on BSE on Thursday.