Great Offshore battle set for next round

Great Offshore battle set for next round

Mumbai: The takeover battle for Great Offshore Ltd is set to go into the next round as the capital market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, cleared the much-awaited open offers by rival bidders for a controlling stake in the country’s largest integrated offshore services provider late on Wednesday.

The market regulator sent a note at 8pm to both companies in the race for Great Offshore to go ahead with open-offer proceedings, according to a person in the know, who did not want to be identified.

ABG Shipyard Ltd, the country’s largest private shipbuilder, and the nation’s second-largest ship maker Bharati Shipyard Ltd are competing to acquire a controlling stake.

V. Kumar, managing director of Bharati Shipyard, said he was told by his office that Sebi had cleared open-offer proceedings.

A senior ABG Shipyard executive, who did not want to be identified, confirmed the development. Sebi will shortly fix the schedule for the completion of the open offers.

Both firms have raised their offers several times since May, when Bharati Shipyard acquired a 14.89% stake in Great Offshore after Vijay Sheth forfeited shares pledged with the company, which paid Rs315 each for the stock.

Since then, Bharati Shipyard has been buying shares from the market through negotiated deals. Most recently, it bought a 3.01% stake in Great Offshore in mid-September, taking its stake to 22.48%.

The average price for the deal was Rs558.81 a share, but the price paid for some stock was as high as Rs560, making that the floor price for shares bought from the market.

Under Indian capital market laws, an investor acquiring a minimum 15% stake in a company needs to make an open offer to public shareholders for an additional 20% stake.

The shares of Great Offshore rose marginally by 0.39% to close at Rs519.20 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Bharati Shipyard’s shares rose 3.66% to close at Rs164.20 and ABG Shipyard’s stock rose 1.53% to close at Rs201.85.