Sebi nixes L&T proposal for Rs 9,000 crore share buyback

NEW DELHI, JAN 19: Engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Saturday said market regulator Sebi has denied permission for its Rs 9,000 crore share buyback offer.

In a regulatory filing to stock exchanges, L&T said the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has asked it not to proceed with the buyback.

"Since the ratio of the aggregate of secured and unsecured debts owed by the company after buy-back (assuming full acceptance) would be more than twice the paid-up capital and free reserves of the company based on consolidated financial statements", the buyback offer is not in compliance with the Companies Act and Sebi norms, the regulator said in a letter to the company.

L&T had proposed to buy back up to 6.1 crore shares from shareholders at a price of Rs 1,475 per equity share, aggregating to Rs 9,000 crore. The offer was open to those holding equity shares as on October 15.

A buyback reduces the number of shares available in the open market.

According to company sources, while turning down the proposal, Sebi has applied the financial ratio based on the consolidated financial statement of the company.

"It is to be noted that the consolidated financials of L&T includes debt of L&T's financial services business which by its permitted operating model has a debt-equity of nearly 6:1, well within the leverage permitted by the RBI," sources said.

The said basis for computation of debt equity ratio based on consolidated financial statement appear internal to Sebi and is not specified in its buyback of Securities Regulations, sources said, adding L&T would not have initiated the buyback proposal had the basis of computation of the ratio been specified in the regulation.  

PTI

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