Rahul Bajaj family to raise stake in Bajaj Holdings

Rahul Bajaj's family will raise its stake in group holding company Bajaj Holdings & Investment. Funds would be garnered by part-sale of stakes in other group companies

The Bajaj family will raise its stake in the group's holding company Bajaj Holdings & Investment Ltd (BHIL) and funds for this would be garnered by part-sale of stakes in other group firms, family patriarch Rahul Bajaj said on Friday.

"We will increase our stake (in BHIL). We will sell some shares in group companies and then increase the holding (in BHIL)," Mr Bajaj told PTI. He, however, declined to give details on how much stake the promoters plan to hike in BHIL or in which group companies the family members will sell stake.

"Everything will be done within the family," said Mr Bajaj, who is the chairman of Bajaj Auto Ltd.

According to the latest shareholding pattern available on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) website, the promoters currently hold 31.36% stake in BHIL, the promoter group entity of the country's second largest two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto.

Meanwhile, on reports of promoters’ raising their stake in BHIL to 50%, the shares of BHIL touched a high of Rs603 in the day. The shares finally settled flat at Rs589.35 while the benchmark Sensex also ended flat at 17166.62 points.

Earlier last month, five promoters of Bajaj Auto—Shekhar Bajaj, Geetika Bajaj, Ruparani Bajaj, Anant Bajaj and Anant Trust—sold over 10 lakh shares to BHIL for Rs180.45 crore. Each share was sold for a price between Rs1,715 and Rs1,730.

In a separate deal on that day, Rahul Bajaj, also the promoter of Bajaj Electricals, sold his 35.35 lakh shares to Shekhar and Anant Bajaj through an open market deal. Rahul Bajaj had also sold 3.25 lakh shares in Hercules Hoists to Baja Auto Holdings.

In 2008, the Bajaj brothers had reached an amicable settlement, bringing to an end the six-year dispute over the division of the family's business empire. According to the agreement, the Rahul Bajaj-led group, comprising Rahul, Shekhar, Madhur and Niraj, would exit Bajaj Hindusthan and Bajaj Consumer Care, which would be with Shishir Bajaj.

All other companies in the original Bajaj Group, including Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Electricals, Mukund, Bajaj Finserv, BHIL and Hercules Hoist, would be with the Rahul Bajaj-led group.

The Bajaj family feud first hit headlines in 2002, with Shishir accusing elder brother Rahul of trying to oust him from the chairmanship of Bajaj Sevashram, one of the group holding companies.

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    GST rate likely to be over 12%, says finance ministry

    The finance ministry on Thursday said that the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate is likely to be higher than 12%, which was suggested by the task force set up by the 13th Finance Commission, reports PTI.

    The Finance Commission (task force) had recommended an overall GST rate of 12% "but it is likely to be higher than that", revenue secretary Sunil Mitra said at a CII seminar in New Delhi.
    However, he clarified that he was not talking about the Central GST but the combined tax at the Union and state governments' level.

    The task force had recommended 5% GST rate at the Central level and 7% at the state level.

    GST was earlier scheduled to be implemented from 1 April 2010, but now the Central GST will replace most of the indirect taxes at Central and state levels like service tax, excise duty, value added tax (VAT), and local levies.

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    Eveready hikes battery prices by up to 10%

    Battery maker Eveready Industries Ltd on Friday said that it is raising prices of its products by up to 10% due to surging input costs, reports PTI.

    The company said that rising zinc cost, a key raw material for manufacturing batteries, coupled with the excise duty hike in Budget 2010 are the main factors for increasing battery prices.

    "Over the past four-five months, there has been a continuous upward climb in zinc prices, which has adversely impacted the manufacturing cost of carbon zinc batteries," Eveready Industries vice chairman and managing director Deepal Khaitan said in a statement.

    Besides, the product segment had to bear 2% hike in excise duty to 10% from 8% made in the Union Budget 2010, the company said.

    "These (factors) have left us with very little option but to pass on a part of the increase in the costs to the market. We are also increasing the maximum retail price (MRP) of all types of batteries by 5% to 10% with immediate effect," he said.

    Eveready sells around 1.2 billion batteries annually. Besides dry cell batteries, the company offers household items like torches, rechargeable batteries, CFL lamps, packet tea and mosquito repellents.

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