The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hat-trick of open offers

Mumbai, Feb. 15: It was a day of open offers.

While Standard and Poor's expressed its interest in picking up a controlling stake in rating agency Crisil, UK-based Burren Energy made an open offer for Hindustan Oil Exploration Ltd and Adani Exports joined the bandwagon for 20 per cent of ACC-owned Everest Industries.

Coming as a bolt from the blue because of the sheer timing, New York-based global rating agency Standard & Poor's confirmed that it will make a conditional open offer for shares of Crisil ' the country's leading and only listed credit rating agency.

Crisil shares hit the roof, touching Rs 680.25, a gain of 20 per cent over Monday's close of Rs 566.90.

'The McGraw-Hill Companies, on behalf of its Standard & Poor's division, wants to purchase up to 3,534,488 shares, subject to a minimum response of 2,643,983 shares at a price of Rs 680 apiece,' it said.

The conditional offer, if accepted at the minimum level of 2,643,983 shares, together with S&P's existing 600,000 would take its stake in Crisil to a little over 51 per cent, making it the majority shareholder. If the offer is accepted in full, then Standard & Poor's will own a little over 65 per cent.

S&P now owns only 9.48 per cent in Crisil and it remains to be seen whether LIC, SBI and Canara Bank will sell their stakes in the rating agency to S&P.

'A majority position will enable Standard & Poor's to integrate Crisil into our operations for the benefit of the Indian and international markets,' said Kathleen A. Corbet, president of Standard & Poor's.

'Given the proprietary nature of our methodologies and systems, we are currently limited in how far we can extend our relationship with Crisil,' she said.

'Should the open offer be successful, we expect Crisil, with its talented analytical pool and strong management, to become an integral part of Standard & Poor's global network and allow for collaboration across a broad spectrum of activities,' she said.

Matching step with S&P, UK-based Burren Energy ' an oil exploration firm ' made an open offer for 20 percent more in Hindustan Oil Exploration at Rs 92.40 per share.

Burren Energy plans to spend almost Rs 231 crore to buy 46 per cent of Hindustan Oil Exploration Ltd.

Burren Energy India Ltd has acquired a 26.1 per cent stake in the Indian oil explorer through an agreed $26 million (Rs 117 crore) purchase of Unocal Bharat's stake.

Shares of Hindustan Oil Exploration slid more than 7.60 per cent to Rs 94.20 from Monday's close of Rs 101.95, as open offer price was below the ruling price on Monday.

Burren said it is making the offer because it sees significant opportunity for exploration and production of oil and gas to satisfy India's growing energy needs.

Hindustan Oil Exploration was the first Indian private sector company to enter the exploration business, which is dominated by state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.

As if two were not enough in a day, Adani Port Infrastructure announced that it will make an open offer to buy 29.6 lakh shares, or a 20 per cent stake, in Everest Industries at Rs 147 per share.

The offer is not conditional on any minimum level of acceptance and will be open from March 18 to April 6. Shares in Everest were down by around 2 per cent at Rs 150.55.

Adani said it is making an open offer after entering into a transaction agreement with Holcim Cements.

Under the agreement, Holcim, if and when it acquires control, will propose to the ACC board to sell 76.01 per cent of its share capital of Everest Industries to Adani.

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