FIIs have also recently zeroed in on other companies such as Bajaj Hindustan and Eveready Industries.

Nilanjan Dey

Kolkata, Dec 6

A CLUTCH of foreign institutional investors have been actively chasing local information technology and pharmaceutical companies in recent days, a trend reflected in strategic stakes being taken in such companies in increasing numbers.

Infotech Enterprises, Prithvi Information Solutions and Ind-Swift Laboratories figure among those that have informed the stock exchanges that certain overseas investors have lately acquired their shares from the market.

For instance, Merrill Lynch Capital Market Espana has picked up 17,000 shares of Infotech Enterprises, accounting for 0.11 per cent of its paid-up capital. The shareholding of Merrill Lynch after the latest deal is 7.6 lakh shares - accounting for over five per cent of the company's equity.

In the case of Prithvi Information, Emerging Markets Management LLC has informed the NSE that over 1.41 lakh shares have been acquired in the last week of November.

The shareholding of its Mauritius account after the acquisition is more than 9.5 lakh shares, aggregating five per cent-plus of the company's paid-up base.

As for Ind-Swift Labs, the exchange has been told that Goldman Sachs Investments (Mauritius) has acquired 3.53 lakh shares of the company, accounting for 1.69 per cent of the capital. However, in this case, the mode of acquisition is receipt of equity shares upon conversion of GDRs. The FIIs' holding after the transaction is 5.82 per cent.

On another front, a number of other overseas players have recently zeroed in on companies operating in sectors other than IT or pharma.

These include sugar producer Bajaj Hindustan and battery major Eveready Industries.

Incidentally, GMO Emerging Markets Fund has sold KEC International's shares (2.95 per cent of its capital), after which its holding has come down to zero.

Nearer home, another IT company, Datamatics Technologies, has said that it has received intimation from HDFC Mutual Fund that the aggregate holding of some of its schemes in it has decreased by 2.07 per cent as on November 25. The total holding of the fund house in the company is now 5.47 per cent.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 7, 2005)
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