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India Inc on backfoot

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MUMBAI, March 8

INDIA Inc continued its dividend cancellation spree on Friday, with major groups such as the Tatas, the Birlas, the Mahindras and the Bajajs announcing `revocation' of interim dividend for the current fiscal.

Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd also decided to revoke the interim dividend of 40 per cent (Rs 2) declared on March 5.

The board of directors of Hero Honda Motors Ltd too decided not to declare a special dividend owing to the controversy over declaration of interim dividend.

"Since there was no written clarification from the stock exchange about our request to change the record date to March 30, we decided not to declare the interim dividend,'' Mr Ilam C. Kamboj, Company Secretary said.

The Tatas issued a release announcing the decision of nine group companies to revoke their board's decision.

"In view of the changed circumstances and based on the legal advice, the Tata companies have revoked the interim dividend declared at their board meetings," it said.

"However, in the overall interest of the shareholders, they propose to fix at an appropriate time fresh record dates in accordance with the provisions of the Listing Agreement and thereafter convene their board meetings to once again consider declaration of interim dividend.''

The group companies are Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Power, Tata Tea, Indian Hotels, Tata Infotech, Trent Ltd, Tata Honeywell and Tata Elxsi.

The boards of Hindalco and Grasim Industries, which belong to the AV Birla group, also announced cancellation of interim dividend.

Corporates that have decided not to pay interim dividend include Asian Paints, Mahindra & Mahindra and Wockhardt.

The pharma major, however, said that it would go ahead with the payment of the final dividend of 65 per cent for the fiscal, which was announced at its board meeting on February 12.

Also, the company's book closure dates remain the same as announced earlier, i.e., April 29-30.

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