Piramal group chairman Ajay Piramal (Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint file)
Piramal group chairman Ajay Piramal (Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint file)

Piramal to raise 5400 crore, CDPQ to invest 1750 crore

  • CDPQ currently holds 3.68% in Piramal and the preferential allotment to CDPQ will take place by November-end
  • The Piramal board entered a securities subscription agreement with CDPQ for issuance of 1,15,894 compulsorily convertible debentures of the face value of 1.51 lakh apiece

Mumbai: Billionaire businessman Ajay Piramal-led Piramal Enterprises Ltd, which has been desperately attempting to raise money over the past six months to repay debts and support growth, on Friday, said it is going to raise 1,750 crore via a preferential allotment of shares to Canadian pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ).

The flagship listed firm of the Piramal Group of companies said it plans to raise a total of 5,400 crore of fresh capital through a mix of rights Issue and preferential allotment, of which Rs. 3,650 crore will be raised through rights issue, which is aimed to be completed by February 2020.

At present, CDPQ holds a 3.68% stake in Piramal and the preferential allotment to CDPQ will take place by November-end.

The Piramal board entered a securities subscription agreement with CDPQ for issuance of 1,15,894 compulsorily convertible debentures (CCDs) of the face value of 1.51 lakh apiece. Following a board meeting, the company informed exchanges that the board has called for an extra-ordinary general meeting on 25 November to seek shareholders' approval for the preferential issue.

“We are delighted to deepen our partnership with Piramal Enterprises, a company whose value creation approach aligns well with CDPQ’s long-term objectives and perspective as a global institutional investor," said Anita M. George, executive vice-president and head of strategic partnerships, growth markets at CDPQ, in a press statement.

“This transaction further demonstrates CDPQ’s commitment to invest in India over the long run," she added.

Each CCD will be convertible into 100 equity shares, at a conversion price of Rs.1,510 per share and will have a term of 18 months from the date of allotment, unless converted earlier by CDPQ. Also, Piramal would bear an annual interest rate 9.28%, calculated on the face value of the CCDs, from the date of their allotment and until the date of their conversion. The interest will be paid to CDPQ in three half-yearly instalments, the statement said.

In the proposed 3,650 crore rights issues, Piramal will offer shares to its existing shareholders at 1,300 apiece. Soon after this announcement, Piramal's stock nosedived on stock exchanges by 17.63% from Rs. 1730.10 to Rs. 1425.20 apiece.

The firm's board is yet to decide other terms in relation to the rights issue, including the rights entitlement ratio and record date.

Earlier, CDPQ had participated as the anchor investor during Piramal Enterprises’ capital issuance, investing $175 million out of the total issue size of $750 million. Additionally, CDPQ’s real estate subsidiary, Ivanhoé Cambridge, has committed $250 million towards a co-investment platform with Piramal to provide long-term equity to blue-chip residential developers.

The development comes amid a liquidity crunch in the market that has mainly affected the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), especially the ones lending to the real estate sector.

Piramal Capital and Housing Finance Ltd (PCHFL), a 100% subsidiary of Piramal Enterprises, is the largest business of the Piramal Group and is primarily engaged in financial services including wholesale and retail funding across various sectors. In real estate, PCHFL is mainly into housing finance while the wholesale lending business is mainly engaged in corporate financing in the infrastructure, renewable energy, roads, industrials and auto components space. As per an investor presentation on 30 July, the group’s lending business had a high net debt-to-equity was 3.7 times, as at the end of June quarter.

"The board is in talks with SoftBank Group Corp. to raise around 7,000 crore in the group's main financial services business-- Piramal Capital and Housing Finance Ltd. (PCHFL)," two persons familiar of the matter had told Mint, requesting anonymity.

In the past, PCHFL has received direct capital infusions from PEL. The promoter group had infused Rs. 3,500-crore equity in the company in fiscal 2018.

While announcing June quarter results, Piramal Enterprises said that under its financial services business (which includes PCHFL), the total loan book grew 20% year-on-year to 56,605 crore, in which wholesale residential real estate constituted 47%. The group’s housing finance loan book grew by around times year-on-year to Rs. 6,110 crores, constituting 11% of the overall loan book.

An Icra report on 25 June said PCHFL’s short-term sources of funding, albeit declining, remains high at around 20% of total debt as on 31 March, 2019 compared to about 36% as on 30 September, 2018.

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