Home >Companies >Former Infosys officers push for Rs.11,200 crore buyback

Mumbai: Concerns over the pace of change at India’s second-biggest software services company have spurred three former officers of Infosys Ltd to seek 11,200 crore ($1.83 billion) in the form of a buyback for all shareholders.

Former officers V. Balakrishnan, T.V. Mohandas Pai and D.N. Prahlad are seeking 3,850 per share, which is a premium of 9.6% over the company’s closing price of 3,513 on Tuesday.

Both Pai and Balakrishnan are former chief financial officers at Infosys and served as directors, while Prahlad was a senior vice president.

The demand comes at a time when Infosys is in the middle of the biggest leadership transition in its history. On 1 August, former SAP AG executive Vishal Sikka took charge as the first non-founder CEO at the company, while all founders, led by N.R. Narayana Murthy, either retired or took up non-executive roles with the board.

“Infosys today is seeing a major transition from a founder-driven company to a non-founder driven company...While the change is inevitable, the abrupt nature of the change raises some serious concerns not only in our minds but also with many stakeholders," the three said in the letter dated 29 June.

They’ve also suggested Infosys should announce an ongoing buyback programme to the extent of 40% of the previous year’s net profit on a consistent basis.

The buyback, if executed, will be the company’s first since Infosys went public in 1993.

“The Infosys board and the management receives requests on a variety of subjects from shareholders and investors on an ongoing basis...Should there be any development that will impact our shareholders, we will immediately inform the regulatory bodies and shareholders on priority," Infosys spokesperson Sarah Gideon said in an emailed statement.

Infosys also added that it had received a request from only three retail investors to consider a share buyback.

In the letter to the board, the investors said while Infosys has close to 30,000 crore in cash and cash equivalents, the company has not articulated its strategy for use of its cash effectively.

“Given this massive net cash position and robust net income generation, Infosys is perhaps the most over-capitalized company in the Indian corporate history, from our perspective."

“Irrespective of the liquidity Infosys may require with respect to any investment in innovation or M&A going forward, we strongly believe that the company is clearly over capitalized," the letter said.

Infosys shares were trading 1.87% up at Rs.3,569.65 at 12:06pm on BSE on Wednesday, while the benchmark Sensex index fell 0.29% to 25,832.97 points. Reuters

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