New Delhi: Unitech Ltd, the country’s second largest real estate firm by market value, is filing complaints with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, department of economic affairs and the Central Bureau of Investigation against people who have spread “malicious rumours” about the firm to drive down its stock price.
Bear target? Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra. Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint
Unitech’s share price plunged by more than 50% on 24 October to close at Rs31.70. The stock touched its all-time low of Rs26.60 during trading on Friday. “There are a lot of malicious rumours being spread by bear cartels who have vested interest in making short-term gains,” said Sanjay Chandra, managing director of the company. “We are in the process of filing complaints… They said they will investigate and the guilty will be prosecuted.” Chandra alleged that a couple of brokers are trying to destabilize the company’s share price. He, however, ruled out the possibility that the company’s rivals could be involved in the cartel.
Unitech has not defaulted on any land payment nor does it plan to retrench its staff, Chandra said. “The payment for land in Greater Noida is to be made over five years…but since there has been a delay of 15 months in giving peaceful possession of the land, the authority has revised the payment schedule,” he said. Unitech employs 1,700 people directly and the group employs 3,000 people.
Unitech fell the most since its trading debut in January 1991 to Rs31 at the close of trade in Mumbai on 24 October. The stock, which had more than doubled last year, is down 94% from its record closing price of Rs538.25 on 2 January.
The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Realty index, meanwhile, has dropped 87.77% from its 52-week high of 13,848.09 on 8 January, to close at 1,692.47 on Friday.
(Bloomberg contributed to this story.)