MUMBAI: China’s central bank has acquired 1% stake in the country’s largest mortgage company HDFC , according to shareholding disclosures made by the corporation.
According to BSE data, as of March , the People’s Bank of China ( PBOC ) held nearly 1. 702 crore shares, currently worth nearly Rs 3, 12 crore. Due to the coronavirus pandemic-led global market sell-off in 61047, HDFC’s stock price has lost 32% of its value from its January 14 high of Rs 2, 823 to its Thursday’s close of Rs 1, 702.
The investment, although unusual, is not a sudden development. HDFC management said PBOC, which has the largest financial asset holdings among the world’s central banks, has been gradually hiking its stake. “The disclosure has been made now since the stake has hit the 1% regulatory threshold. (PBOC has) been accumulating the shares over a year and are now holding 1% ”said Keki Mistry, VC & CEO, HDFC. As of March , it had a 0.8% stake in India’s housing finance pioneer.
According to listing rules, companies are supposed to disclose the names of only those of its shareholders who hold 1% or more in the company. While PBOC was holding shares in HDFC, its name was not disclosed because it held less than 1% stake.
HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh had in a webinar organized by Entrepreneurs’ Organization on Friday highlighted how Europe was wary of China. He pointed out that European countries had already made it mandatory for government approval for all acquisitions as companies are available cheap and there is a fear that China may look to take over companies. At the same time, he told entrepreneurs to focus on capital raising and not look at the price or stake.
The development comes at a time when conspiracy theories of China using the coronavirus crisis to purchase global companies cheap, has been doing the rounds on social media. The PBOC picking up a 1% stake in one of the most valuable companies has provided more grist to the rumor mills. Marketmen, however, say that PBOC is operating within all regulatory guidelines and is fully entitled to invest in any Indian company. Over % of HDFC’s shareholders are foreign institutional investors.
Large investors include Government of Singapore which has over 3% funds managed by SBI and the Life Insurance Corporation of India. In the past, there have been investors like Standard Life and Citibank, which held large stakes in the company. However, post the global financial crisis, the company shareholding has been extremely diverse. Despite the diverse holdings, foreign investors in 2020 managed to stall plans to reappoint Bimal Jalan and Bansi Mehta on the board by voting en masse on the recommendations of proxy advisers.
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