The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bajoria haunts Bombay Dyeing

Mumbai, April 9: Arun Bajoria is tantalisingly close to the mark that earned him the reputation of being one of Corporate India’s most audacious predators.

Just when one thought the last word on the Bombay Dyeing stake-spat was out, the Calcutta jute baron with an insatiable hunger for stocks went to town saying he has amassed 5.6 lakh more shares in deals that take his stake in the textile company to 4.9 per cent.

Mega Resources, a company he owns, told the National Stock Exchange (NSE) about the new holdings. Five lakh shares were soaked up in an off-market deal; the rest sucked in through a routine transaction on April 3. Bajoria, having come under the fire of regulators for not coming clean on his stake last time round, is making sure that he is not faulted for silence.

Here’s how his holding in Bombay Dyeing adds up to 4.9 per cent: Mega Resources 3.38 per cent, Arun Kumar Bajoria 0.10 per cent (40,000 shares), Mohini Devi Bajoria 0.20 per cent (80,000), Lata Bajoria 0.28 per cent (1,1 lakh), Pooja Bajoria 0.20 per cent (80,000) and Mega Stocks Limited 0.74 per cent shares (2.90 lakh shares).

Bajoria was not available for comment on the events. His daughter told The Telegraph in Calcutta that her father could not take telephone calls because he was unwell.

The new twist to the stake tussle comes at a time when Nusli Wadia has tightened his grip on the textile firm. The Wadias now hold 42.39 per cent after extinguishing shares in a buyback. “Wadia is better placed now than the time when the Bajorias snapped up more than 10 per cent in Bombay Dyeing,” analysts said.

The market is at its wits’ end trying to size up Bajoria’s gamble this time. “He either finds lot of value in the scrip, or he is mopping up shares that he had parked with his associates,” sources in the market said.

The Bombay Dyeing stock has been inching up in a rise that operators attribute to the company’s own share purchases. It closed at Rs 45.45 on Dalal Street today, below its previous finish of Rs 45.90 and Rs 45.20 on April 3.

Bajoria’s acquisition of Bombay Dyeing shares last time had kicked up a controversy in the corporate world, which was spooked by the prospect of raiders stalking firms.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had barred him and his associates from trading in the stock market for a year, but the order was set aside by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on March 19, 2002.

Sebi had charged Bajoria and his associates with not informing the company about their holdings within four days, as required under the takeover regulations.

However, SAT had ruled that the takeover regulations of 1997 and other provisions used by Sebi to deal with failure on the part of Bajoria and associates to disclose their holding to Bombay Dyeing does not empower the market regulator to totally ban dealing in securities.

The controversial acquisition was dragged into other forums, like the Company Law Board.

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