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Wednesday, Nov 06, 2002

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L&T rises above open offer price

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Nov. 5

THE stock price of engineering and construction conglomerate, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today gained by almost two per cent on the bourses, moving beyond the Rs 190-per share price set by Grasim Industries for its open offer for an additional 20 per cent stake in the company, which will commence on December 9.

The stock closed at Rs 193.10 on the BSE, gaining 1.66 per cent with 2.48 lakh shares being traded. On the NSE, L&T stock closed at Rs 193.15, up 1.79 per cent with trading volumes of 5.16 lakh shares.

While 42.58 per cent traded shares were up for delivery on the NSE, 49.06 per cent traded shares were presented for delivery on the BSE.

According to dealers, with the company's stock price moving beyond the Rs 190 level, the open offer is unlikely to elicit a good response. They also added that this development could lead to Grasim raising the open offer price beyond Rs 190.

Since the offer was announced, Grasim has been facing a lot of flak from various investor associations for offering a much lower price to shareholders compared to Rs 360 per share that it offered to Reliance Industries from whom it acquired 10.5 per cent stake in L&T.

The company currently holds around 15.5 per cent stake in the L&T and is making an open offer to acquire an additional stake of 20 per cent. The open offer will commence on December 9 and close on January 7.

For the quarter ended September 30, 2002, L&T reported a flat net profit even as its top line witnessed good growth. On net sales to Rs 2,094 crore, L&T's net profit moved up 4 per cent in the second quarter to Rs 42.18 crore.

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