Caterpillar makes open offer to buy out Hindustan Powerplus

Mumbai: Caterpillar Inc, a US-listed company, through its subsidiary Caterpillar Commercial SA (CCSA), has made an open offer to buy out the public shareholders of Hindustan Powerplus (HPL) at a price of Rs 32 per share.

domain-B's currency converter - check it outThe CK Birla group, in technical and financial collaboration with Caterpillar of the US, promotes HPL. The CK Birla group and Caterpillar hold 37.75-per cent stake each in HPL with the balance 24.5 per cent being held by the public.

Post-announcement of the offer, the CK Birla group has made its intention known that they would participate in the offer made by CCSA. With the CK Birla group companies participating in the offer, CCSA will reach a holding of at least 75.5 per cent.

Key financials of HPL:
FY 2003
(9 months)
Total Income (Rs million) 1673 1612 1634 1155
Profit After Tax (Rs million) 62 77 65 30
Dividend (%) - 5% 5% -
EPS (Rs) 1.96 2.42 2.03 0.95
Return on Networth (%) 6.8% 7.9% 6.5%  
Book Value per share (Rs) 28.74 30.67 31.11  

Key features of the HPL stock:
High Price   52 Week 2 Year
    36.00 36.00
Low Price   17.50 11.50
Statutory Price (On Announcement Date) 23.40    
Offer Price 32.00    
Offer Price Premium over Statutory Price 36.75%    
Price/Earnings (At offer Price) 15.76x    
Price/Earnings (Industry Average) 9.80x    
Dividend (FY02) yield at offer price 1.56%    

The company has not been able to show growth during the past few years on the total income and the profit after tax. With the dividend being low at 5 per cent the yield is also very low. The offer price of Rs 32 is near its two-year high price of Rs 36. The offer price of Rs 32 per share is attractive since it is at a significant premium to the pre-announcement price and the price earning ratios of comparable companies in the industry.

Should one hold or tender?
Prior to the offer the HPL stock was infrequently traded on the stock exchanges, further after the completion of the offer the liquidity would reduce even further thereby reducing the option of exit in the open market in the event low liquidity. Due to the low level of floating stock investor interest in the stock would reduce and chances of capital appreciation would reduce significantly.