Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Feb 13, 2002

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Corporate - Mergers & Acquisitions
Markets - Open Offers

Open offers up despite fewer M&A deals

Aparna Krishnan

MUMBAI, Feb. 12

DESPITE the number of merger and acquisition deals coming down this fiscal, the number of open offers in the markets was high at 78, amounting to Rs 2,406 crore in the last 10 months (April 2001-January 2002).

In comparison, during the corresponding period between April 2000-January 2001, the number of open offers stood at 58, amounting to Rs 2,091.7 crore.

According to the latest data available from the monthly review of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the number of acquisitions in the last 10 months has come down to 844 at Rs 25,254 crore from 970 in the year-ago corresponding period. Between April 2001-January 2002, there were 204 mergers against 254 for the same period last year.

The open offer season saw heightened activity in March 2001 with 15 offers amounting to Rs 487.3 crore being announced. However, a total of 16 mergers and 118 acquisitions were registered that month.

In the first month of 2002, 10 open offers amounting to Rs 66.2 crore with 32 mergers were announced. Of the 10 offers, two were by multinationals, and one by a joint venture. It accounted for three-fourths of the total open offer amount.

Four of the open offers were consolidation initiatives by promoters, while the remaining six would result in a change in ownership of the company.

There were two major open offers: One was that of Sri Vishnu Cement wherein India Cements sold its stake in it to Zuari Cement for a consideration of Rs 349 crore. The second was Abbott Laboratories India wherein the parent Abbott sold its 51 per cent stake to Pharmacia Corporation for Rs 65.3 crore.

In the mergers and acquisitions scene, the mega deal was a Rs 250-crore investment by the UK firm, Scottish & Newcastle, for a 26 per cent stake in UB Beer — the de-merged brewery business of United Breweries.

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