Home / Companies / News /  Premji’s trusts gain Rs1,900 crore via share repurchase by Wipro

Information technology firm Wipro Ltd bought back shares worth 1,963 crore from two trusts owned by its founder Azim Premji as part of a 2,500 crore share repurchase in June.

Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives Pvt. Ltd (APPI) and Azim Premji Trust (APT) sold 31.4 million shares—78.5% of the 40 million shares which were repurchased—a BSE filing by Wipro showed. The sale cut the shareholding of the two entities by one percentage point to 16.8%. In fact, both APPI and APT had to seek additional approval from Securities and Exchange Board of India to sell more shares than other promoters back to the firm, Mint reported on 11 June.

“This ( 1,963 crore) will be a part of the endowment," Anurag Behar, CEO, Azim Premji Foundation, said. He said returns from the endowment will help support the extensive philanthropic work done by the foundation in education and give financial grants.

In the last decade, APT has worked to improve the quality of education in primary schools across the country. In 2014, Premji set up a grant-making body, APPI, on the lines of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with the aim of giving grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). APPI aims to give 500 crore every year to non-profits that cater to vulnerable groups such as street children and the disabled and also to promote governance.

To finance these entities, 70-year-old Premji, who is a Giving Pledge signatory, has been increasingly giving away his shares. The Giving Pledge is an initiative started by Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010, asking the rich to give away half their wealth.

So far, Premji has transferred 39% of his shares in Wipro to these entities. The promoter group, including Premji’s family, now owns 73.25% of Wipro shares, after the buyback. Public shareholders sold nearly 516.8 crore worth of stock to the firm in the buyback. Of this, institutions accounted for 42.2%.

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