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No beating about the bush.
Hind Industries, a small-cap company, saw its market capitalisation get decimated by Rs1.72 crore over a single trade of a single share on Wednesday! This is a result of SEBI’s newly-introduced call auction system of tackling illiquid counter
On Wednesday, Rs1.72 crore of market capitalisation was wiped off, in a single trade of just one share, in Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) listed scrip—Hind Industries, points out investor Bosco Menezes. This trade took place in the much-touted and controversial Periodic Call Auction System (PCAS) window, introduced by Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), where illiquid scrips are traded. This clearly means that PCAS system is extremely susceptible to manipulation—exactly what the SEBI tried to counter through PCAS!
Here is what happened yesterday.
In the BSE’s PCAS window, just one share was traded at Rs 38.10, which is apparently the lower circuit filter and the first trade since 29 May 2013. Its previous close was Rs40.10 (i.e. 29th May). This means, roughly Rs1.72 crore of market capitalisation of Hind Industries was destroyed with a single trade. In fact, this isn’t helping the liquidity situation because the total traded volume was just one share!
What is more shocking is that Hind Industries was actually a healthily traded company, with decent volumes, at least by its small-cap standards. It wasn’t until the PCAS system introduced by SEBI which termed the company ‘illiquid’.
Hind Industries saw 78,939 shares traded in January 2013, followed by 31,525 shares in Feb 2013, and thereafter a volume of 56,873 shares in March 2013. This is a cumulative of 167,337 shares, or roughly 2,700 shares traded daily, over the three month period ending March 2013 (i.e. 62 trading days), just prior to the inauguration of the PCAS system. Last year it was greater than 1,600 shares and the year prior to that it was greater than 2,250 shares. These are decent numbers of shares traded for a small-cap company.
What happened after PCAS system came into force? The company became ‘illiquid’ overnight. The average daily traded volume tanked over 95%! In May, only 2,673 shares were traded over 23 trading days (and works out to 116 shares daily). In April, it was slightly better though, with 982 shares traded daily, but still way below the 2,700 shares in the first calendar quarter.
So much for SEBI’s effort to infuse ‘liquidity’ and “curb manipulation” through a separate window. This puts many counters at the risk of price manipulation (whether by the promoter or someone else). We had written about SEBI’s flawed PCAS policy in the past. You can access them below:
If companies with solid reputation in the marketplace can indulge in manipulation ordinary investor is left with a feeling of being cheated
Recently, the capital market regulator completed 25 years of its existence. Unfortunately, despite its best efforts, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has not achieved much success. At one time, it was expected that, with the advent of...
According to the former secretary to the GoI, the whole gamut of showering one largesse after another on Reliance Industries should be subject to an independent investigation by a special investigation team or SIT
EAS Sarma, former secretary of the Government of India (GoI), has said that the whole gamut of showering one largesse after another on Reliance Industries (RIL) should be subject to an independent investigation and such an investigation will unravel the hidden links in this web of improprieties.
Mr Sarma, in a letter to prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, said, “If the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) secures adequate autonomy, it could be entrusted with the task of investigating these improprieties. However, I do not feel quite hopeful of the government’s intentions against the background of the statements being made by some of your esteemed colleagues. In that case, an investigation by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) should be instituted. I feel that the stakes involved in this matter are far too heavy to be taken lightly.”
In his latest salvo, Mr Sarma, cited a news report that says the petroleum minister is once again trying to bypass the mandatory provisions incorporated in the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) in the name of “national security” and extend additional concessions to RIL.
“This is unacceptable. It will amount to a gross impropriety. In fact, what the petroleum minister is now trying to do is to go against the letter and spirit of Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on PSCs and dole out yet another huge largesse to RIL. No wonder that those who had opposed such concessions in the past were forced to give up the ministerial portfolio of petroleum and natural gas,” the former secretary said.
According to Mr Sarma, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH) had recommended to the ministry that RIL should be directed to relinquish 86% of the KG-D6 block area as envisaged in the PSC, including that in which discoveries were announced belatedly.
“It is ironic that the ministry should choose to interpret the same PSC to hike up the gas price and quote “national security” and to deviate from the PSC, when it came to relinquishment of the franchised blocks as per the contract. It is nothing but a deliberate ploy to benefit RIL at the expense of the public,” he said.
Mr Sarma said, “The minister’s earlier statement that India was “floating on oil”, apparently on an assurance given by RIL, should remind the government how the earlier assurances by RIL had turned out to be totally misplaced, causing a debilitating damage to the interests of small investors and the interests of the downstream power developers. References by the minister to ‘import’ lobbies are apparently aimed to obfuscate the main issue of granting undue benefits to RIL!”
The former secretary had written several letters to the PM and petroleum ministry on the improprieties committed by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in dealing with RIL’s gas project in Krishna Godavari (KG) Basin in Andhra Pradesh.
Last year in August, Mr Sarma had alleged that there were irregularities committed in the pricing, allocation and the management of the natural gas from KG Basin to the detriment of the public interest at the macro-level and to the detriment of Andhra Pradesh at the state level.
The Krishna-Godavari basin is spread across over 50,000 sq km in the Krishna River and Godavari River basins in Andhra Pradesh. The site is known for the D-6 block where RIL discovered the biggest natural gas reserves in India in 2002. It was also the world’s largest gas discovery of 2002.
In November 2012, the former secretary, in his letters have said, “The exploration and development effort put in by RIL in the KG Basin, the technology adopted, the resources discovered, the costs incurred, the claims made on pricing of gas and the costs to be reimbursed are all matters that impinge directly and indirectly on the public exchequer. All such matters should be subject to public scrutiny and RIL should be held accountable to the public”.
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