The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Astra makes fresh open offer

Mumbai, Sept. 27: Astra Pharmaceuticals AB today came out with a second open offer to mop up the remaining equity capital of AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd, at a price of Rs 375 per share. The offer if successful, would result in the Indian subsidiary being delisted from the domestic bourses.

In a notice issued to the stock exchanges today, the Swedish firm along with its holding company AstraZeneca AB, said it was making a voluntary offer to the public shareholders of AstraZeneca Pharma India to acquire up to 6,39,367 fully paid-up equity shares of Rs 10 each, representing 12.79 per cent of its equity capital, at a price of Rs 375 per share, payable in cash.

The parent currently holds over 43.60 lakh shares or 87.21 per cent of the equity capital in AstraZeneca Pharma India. AstraZeneca said it had earlier acquired over 11.45 lakh shares at a price of Rs 375 per share through the open offer and 3.90 lakh shares at an average price of Rs 373.30 per share through open market purchases, representing 30.71 per cent of the paid-up equity capital of the Indian subsidiary.

“If pursuant to this offer and/or acquisition of shares from the open market through negotiation or otherwise, the public shareholding falls to 10 per cent or below of the voting capital, then in terms of Regulation 21(3) of the Sebi Act, the acquirer will make an offer to buy out the remaining shares held by the public in accordance with the guidelines specified by the board in respect of delisting of securities,” the notice added.

The offer, which will open on November 7, will close on December 6. In November 2000, the parent company acquired over 25 per cent held by the Hinduja-controlled IDL Industries, which was an equal joint venture partner in the company, at Rs 670 per share. Subsequently, Astra Zeneca bought another 5 per cent stake at the same price from Hinduja Finance and some other investors, taking its holding to over 56 per cent in May 2001.

The first open offer met with opposition from some shareholders as the open offer price of Rs 375 was at a 44 per cent discount than what was paid to the Hindujas.

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