RIL sells more treasury stock; raises Rs2,675 crore

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which has made a non-binding offer to acquire bankrupt Dutch petrochemicals major LyondellBassell, yesterday disclosed that it had raised Rs2,675 crore through the sale of 25.85 million treasury shares held by Reliance Petroleum Trust (RPT). The sale was concluded at Rs1,035 per RIL share, a 5 per cent discount to RIL's 31 December share price, in block deals on the BSE and NSE.

With this transaction, the country's largest private sector firm has raised around Rs5,863 crore through two treasury stock sales. In September, RIL raised around Rs3,100 crore after it sold 15 million treasury shares held by Petroleum Trust.

State-run Life Insurance Corporation of India, the largest institutional shareholder in Reliance with a 6.07 per cent stake as on 30 September, has picked up the entire lot of 25.85 million shares. Describing it as a long-term investment picked up cheaply, LIC executive director A Mohan Raj said, ''We will continue to buy shares of other corporate houses whenever we get them at reasonable prices.''

Reliance Industrial Investments created Petroleum Trust in May 2002 following the merger of Reliance Petroleum Ltd with RIL. Since Reliance Industrial Investments, in which had RPL shares, could not hold shares of the parent company, the trust was formed to house those shares.

''The Trust will realise approximately Rs2,675 crore, at an average price of Rs1,035 per share. The financial impact will be reflected in the consolidated financial statements of the company,'' RIL said.

When asked if the funds would be used for the LyondellBasell acquisition, an RIL spokesperson said that they could be used for anything of shareholder interest.

RIL's initial offer for LyondellBasell was reportedly around $12 billion and included a cash component of about $2 billion. It will probably be forced to sweeten its offer, as prospects of a global recovery brighten.