Rival hand seen as Aftek stock volumes surge

Written by Yagnesh Kansara | Mumbai, Apr 10 | Updated: Apr 12 2008, 05:10am hrs
After Orchid Chemicals, battle lines are being drawn in vulnerable mid-cap stocks, particularly where promoter holdings are low. And in the midst of this, the spotlight is turning on mid-cap IT company Aftek Ltd, where the activity has heightened all of a sudden.

According to informed sources, promoters of a rival company are quietly mopping up a sizeable stake in Aftek from the open market and they are expected to raise their stake even further. The stock has gained over 15% in the past one week, but the interesting aspect of trading in the counter is that volumes have jumped seven to eight times when compared with the two-week average on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Aftek stock, which hit the upper circuit of 20% on Wednesday, ended marginally higher on Thursday (up Rs 0.95/1.90%) to close at Rs 50.90. The counter clocked trading volumes of 29.35 lakh shares against the two-week average of 5.84 lakh shares on the BSE. The stock has moved up steadily in the past one month, and it has climbed by nearly 19%.

When contacted on the issue of a rival group cornering its shares, a senior management source at Aftek told FE: As of now, we do not have any specific information about someone mopping up Aftek shares. But we are monitoring the situation carefully.

According to broking sources, there is hardly any interest in frontline stocks thanks largely to a serious lack of liquidity.

Hence, mid-cap counters with low promoter holdings will generate interest. In the case of Aftek, the promoters stake is as low as 17%, while the public shareholding (including institutional holding) is at a high 80%.

According to the shareholding pattern filed with BSE for the quarter ended December 2007, among the public shareholding, 21.09% was held by foreign institutional investors, while among the non-institutional category, bodies corporate held 23.72% and other shareholders in the category, including retail, hold 36.06%.