The recent exit of four board members - the managing director and three independent directors - of Hindustan Oil Exploration Company (HOEC) has led to speculations that Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), the second largest shareholder at 11.36 per cent, is likely to exit the company. The largest shareholder at 47 per cent is ENI, an Italian oil and gas major. The three independent directors, including HDFC's Executive Director V Srinivasa Rangan, quit the company's board a fortnight earlier. In September, the company had converted its reserves from proven to 'probable and possible category', which could lead to a significant write-off of the carrying value of assets. HOEC was incorporated in 1983 by ICICI's former chairman and founder of HDFC, the late H T Parekh. The stock closed at Rs 58.45
MFs continue to up stake in Maruti
Mutual fund houses, on one hand, have been opposing Maruti Suzuki's controversial plan for setting up a new plant under Japanese parent Suzuki. On the other hand, they have been increasing their stake in the company for a sixth quarter in a row. Since January, when Maruti's board approved Suzuki's Gujarat plant proposal, MFs have increased their holdings in the company by about one per cent to 6.53 per cent at the end of September, the latest shareholding pattern shows. In fact, Maruti Suzuki is one of the top five Nifty companies in which mutual funds have raised their stake in the three months to September. The stake increase comes just before a much anticipated vote on Suzuki's proposal, scheduled for early November. The increased stake might help mutual funds get their way when the matter comes to vote.
Concerns over politically-linked stocks
Investors holding stocks of DLF and JSPL are a worried lot. Market sources said brokerages and investment advisors are flooded with calls and emails after Sebi's action on DLF, quickly followed by apprehension that the Haryana government will open cases relating to DLF's deals with the Congress president's son-in-law, Robert Vadra. JSPL is also facing problems with its coal mines. Investors want to know if they should exit the stocks or take a contra call. The advice, for now, is simple: Till the event or the issue is resolved, investors should not enter the stock. "No price is too low for such stocks," says an investment advisor.