Speculation rife on Unitech stake sale

Speculation rife on Unitech stake sale

New Delhi: Realty firm Unitech, which is at the receiving end in the stock markets, was at the centre of speculation that it may divest up to 40% stake to overcome its financial woes, but the promoters did not give any comment.

Reports quoting unidentified sources at the close of the stock markets, where the company’s shares fell by 7.54% to Rs42.30, said that the company could strike a deal at Rs60-65 a share to sell 26-40% stake to investors, who were also not named.

When contacted, Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra was non-committal on the reports and said: “Just a market speculation on which we do not comment."

Although he neither denied nor confirmed the report, a senior company official, who did not wish to be named, said that the dilution of stake could happen at projects level and not at the company level.

Unitech had yesterday announced its plan to raise long-term funds up to Rs5,000 crore or equivalent amounts in other currencies through issue of securities.

Earlier this month, the company’s Chairman Ramesh Chandra had said that it would mobilise up to Rs2,500 crore through sale of some assets and equity to retire part of its Rs8,000 crore debt by March 2009.

“Debt is about Rs8,000 crore. I feel in another four-five months, we should be able to bring it to half. Disposal of assets could be anything between Rs1,200-1,500 crore. Private equity will be another Rs1,000 crore. And transfer of loans to telecom business will be about Rs2,000 crore," Chandra had said.

The company’s share prices have plunged to Rs42.30 from the 52-week high of Rs546.80 on 2 January this year.