Essar Ports complies with 25% public shareholding norm

Essar Ports Ltd has finally complied with the mandatory 25 per cent minimum public shareholding norm after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) passed an interim order on 4 June 2013 against the company and another 104 listed companies for violating the listing norms.

SEBI, through its interim order, had issued a show-cause notice to the 105 companies for action against non-compliance of the regulatory norms.

The market regulator had, earlier, passed an interim order against Essar Ports Limited for non-compliance with the minimum public shareholding norm for listed companies.

The equity shares of the company are listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange Limited (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE).

SEBI said the company filed its replies to the interim order vide letters dated 5 June 2013, 20 June 2013 and 25 June 2013 and SEBI had since granted the company an opportunity for personal hearing on 24 July 2013.

Essar Ports in its reply has pointed out that in order to comply with the MPS norms, it had undertaken an offer for sale (OFS) of 2,28,06,018 equity shares held by the promoters (constituting 5.33 per cent of the company's total equity), to raise the public shareholding to 20.96 per cent.

Further, the company submitted that it had, on 26 March 2013, permitted the company to convert 52,666 global depository shares (GDS) held by Port of Antwerp International UK Limited and that on conversion such equity shares could be included as part of the public shareholding.

The GDS represented 1,74,32,446 equity shares constituting 4.07 per cent of the paid-up equity share capital of the company on a diluted basis, the company said, adding that the delay was due mainly to the procedures involved in transferring the stake to Port of Antwerp.

Shailesh Sawa, director-finance of the company and Manoj Contractor, company secretary, appeared for the company and made submissions.

The company also filed its written submissions through a letter dated 30 July 2013.