Feb 26 Vedanta Resources Plc's founder
and largest shareholder, Anil Agarwal, has steadily built up his
stake in the London-listed mining and oil and gas firm this
year, recent filings from the company show.
The scrap metal-dealer-turned-billionaire has made multiple
stock purchases in January and February, raising his stake in
the company to 68.46 percent as of Feb. 20 from 66.93 percent at
the start of the year.
The latest regulatory filing, published on Wednesday, showed
that Agarwal purchased 210,000 shares at 851.48 pence per share
on Feb. 20 through his investment vehicle, Volcan Investments
Vedanta's stock closed at 842 pence on Wednesday on the
London Stock Exchange.
The company, grappling with regulatory hurdles and low
commodity prices, was one of three miners to be demoted from the
FTSE-100 index last year. Its stock has lost nearly a third of
its value in the last 12 months.
Liberum analyst Ben Davis said that the latest purchases by
Agarwal might be an attempt to signal to investors that
Vedanta's stock has been oversold.
While promoters buying shares in their companies to shore up
their stock price is nothing new, the frequency of Agarwal's
purchases has prompted trader chatter that he may be looking to
make an offer to take the firm private.
Neither Vedanta nor Volcan Investments were available for
comment when contacted by Reuters.
Taking the company private would severely restrict Vedanta's
access to public funds. It would also clash with Agarwal's
ambition of growing the company to compete with the likes of Rio
Tinto and BHP Billiton .
UK listing requirements mandate that at least 25 percent of
a company's stock be available for trading.
The next biggest shareholders in Vedanta are Standard Life
Investments Ltd, with a 7.85 percent stake, and BlackRock
Investment Management (UK) Ltd with a stake of over 4 percent.
GIC Private Ltd, Capital World Investors and Credit Suisse
Asset Management each have a stake of more than 2 percent in the
company, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Independent directors at Essar Energy, the other
Indian resources company in the FTSE-250 index, this week shot
down a bid from its largest shareholder and founders, India's
billionaire Ruia brothers, saying the offer undervalued the