British tobacco company BAT sold 43.69 crore shares or 3.5 per cent stake in its Indian associate ITC Ltd today through block trades to institutional investors for ₹16,690 crore (1.5 billion pounds).

Exchange data showed that the shares were picked up from domestic mutual funds, foreign funds, portfolio investors, insurance companies, global pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

BAT sold the stake through its subsidiary Tobacco Manufacturers (India) Ltd.

The market viewed the stake sale positively and the ITC stock stood out as the stock gained 4.3 per cent on a day when 43 scrips in the Nifty50 index fell and the benchmark closed 1.5 per cent lower. The stock saw over 10 crore shares being traded.

The main buyers were ICICI Prudential Fund, Government of Singapore and Monetary Authority of Singapore.

BAT iterated its intention to use the proceeds of the sale to buy back its shares over a period ending December 2025 starting with 700 million pounds in 2024. This will allow it to allocate its operating cashflow for funding its transformation and continue to deleverage.

Meanwhile, a PTI report quoting the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, said, “the government has no plans to sell its part stake in ITC, held through SUUTI.”

As on December 31, 2023, Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India (SUUTI) held around 7.82 per cent stake in the diversified conglomerate ITC .“There is no such plan at the moment,” he told PTI.