Godrej may extend buyback offer
Pharmacia not to delist Abbott
HM move to step up Lancer sales

 
 
GODREJ MAY EXTEND BUYBACK OFFER 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 20: 
Godrej Consumer Products is set to extend its ongoing buyback programme. The company informed the stock exchanges today that its board would meet on April 29 to consider an extension of its buyback scheme.

In the same meeting, the company’s board will also consider announcing a second interim dividend and finalise its annual results for the year ended March 31.

Godrej Consumer Products had announced a second interim dividend of 50 per cent—or Rs 2 per share of Rs 4—soon after the budget, but withdrew it after the market regulator said that companies would not be allowed to disburse dividends without a 30-day notice. In October last, Godrej Consumer Products paid an interim dividend of Rs 2 per share.

The company’s ongoing buyback scheme started in January, and if the board approves, the company would extend the programme. Under the scheme, the company said it would buy back shares from the market at a maximum price of Rs 100 apiece, and spend up to Rs 10 crore on it.

The company’s promoters held close to 72 per cent as on March 31 this year.

The financial institutions hold about 8 per cent in the company. The balance—a little over 20 per cent—is held by the public. The company has a total paid up capital of Rs 23.64 crore divided into 5.9 crore shares of Rs 4 each.

Godrej Consumer Products has so far acquired over 7 lakh shares from the market. The company’s stock closed at Rs 69.85 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Friday.

The company was formed by demerging it from Godrej Soaps Ltd, and came into being on March 1, 2001. It has got off to a strong start despite flagging demand in the fast moving consumer good market.

In the first six months of the last financial year, the company’s managers went through a strategic planning exercise to work out growth plan for the next three years.

   

 
 
PHARMACIA NOT TO DELIST ABBOTT 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, April 20: 
US-based Pharmacia Corporation has decided not to delist Abbott Laboratories from stock exchanges even as the former’s Indian subsidiary plans to introduce a new product for breast cancer later this year.

“Pharmacia had bought 51.5 per cent equity in Abbott Labs from its US parent at $ 13.5 million in January and the latter acquired 23.6 per cent from the public taking the total to 75.1 per cent but we have no intention to delist the company,” Pharmacia India Private Ltd (PIPL) president and managing director V.S. Sohoni said today.

Pharmacia assumed management control of Abbott Labs India and decided to change its name to Pharmacia Healthcare Ltd (PHL) subject to shareholders approval, he said adding, they plan to reverse the downward trend of Abbott.

Sohoni said the two entities would function as “operationally one with co-marketing agreement”.

Some of the new products that are set to be launched include Detrusitol to treat overactive bladders, Aromasin (breast cancer), Caverject (erectile dysfunction), Xalacom (glaucoma), Healon 5 (cataract) and Medrol tablets (asthma and allergies).

Pharmacia Healthcare will thus offer a portfolio which include successful Abbott brands such as Erythrocin, Pentotha, Vidaylin, Claribid and Surbex T as well as Pharmacia brands, Fragmin, Medrol, Dalacin and Depo Provera.

Pharmacia had recently bought 51.5 per cent equity of Abbott India from US-based Abbott for $ 13.5 million. In addition, around 23.6 per cent (which includes 3 per cent from market purchases) of Abbott India equity was bought from the public. It now has a stake of over 75 per cent in the company.

As per the understanding reached between the two, some products will be retained by Abbott while few will be marketed by both the companies and produced by Abbott India. Also Abbott will retain some of the employees. However, all brands will be licensed to Abbott India, which will now be renamed as Pharmacia Healthcare Ltd, for 15 years, royalty free and renewable. It may be recalled that Abbott continues to hold a majority stake in its other subsidiary, Knoll Pharma Ltd, which is set to be renamed as Abbott India Ltd.

As regards Abbott’s existing manufacturing plant at Ankleshwar, Sohoni said that the parent will be investing $ 0.8 million for modernisation and increase its utilisation by manufacturing Pharmacia products locally.

   

 
 
HM MOVE TO STEP UP LANCER SALES 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, April 20: 
Hindustan Motors (HM) is targeting to sell 8,000 units of its premium mid-size car Lancer this fiscal so as to achieve a 23 per cent growth in sales, a company official said today.

On the occasion of handing over the 25,000th HM Lancer car to its owner, who happens to be pop star Anamika, senior manager D Mitra said, “We expect to sell 8,000 Lancer cars this fiscal to increase our market share in the segment from 44 per cent last year to about 60 per cent this year.”

HM will reduce the prices of around 150 spare parts for Lancer by June. The price cut will be in the range of 30 to 60 per cent.

“The move to cut spare part prices follows customer demands, after changes in insurance policies, whereby, 50 per cent of depreciable parts were to be borne by consumers in case of accidents,” Mitra said.

   
 

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