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 With stock exchanges freezing shares of its promoters, Patanjali Foods on Thursday said the move will not impact the company’s operation and it will start the process of launching a Follow-On Public Offering (FPO) in April to increase the public shareholding to 25 per cent.

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Stock exchanges NSE and BSE have frozen the shares of promoters of Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali Group firm Patanjali Foods, which is a major edible oil player.

In an interview with PTI, Ramdev assured his investors and public shareholders that there would be no impact of Patanjali Foods Ltd’s (PFL) operation and financial performance and its growth trajectory will remain intact.

“There is no reason for the investors to worry,” he said.

According to Ramdev, promoters’ shares are already under lock-in as per Sebi guidelines till April 8, 2023, which is one year from the date of listing, and the latest move by stock exchanges do not appear to have a negative impact on the functioning of PFL.

He further said that PFL is being operated by Patanjali group in an “ideal way” and is taking care of all factors such as the expansion of business and distribution, profitability and performance.

“We will be diluting around 6 per cent stake. There are no questions about that,” he said, adding the delay was because the market condition was not favourable.

When asked about the time frame, he said: “We will start the process for FPO in April, immediately after finishing the current financial year.” The Haridwar-based group has already “lined up” offshore and domestic investors, who are ready to invest into the PFL.

“We have to dilute our equity share and there is no question about that,” he added.

On Wednesday, Patanjali Foods Ltd (PFL) informed that leading bourses BSE and NSE had frozen shares of its 21 promoter entities, including Patanjali Ayurved and Acharya Balkrishna, who is the managing director of Patanjali Ayurved and co-founder of Patanjali Yogpeeth Haridwar, for failing to meet minimum public shareholding norms.

Rule 19A(5) of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules, 1957 mandates a listed entity to have a minimum public shareholding (MPS) of 25 per cent.

However after the FPO in March, 2022, MPS was increases to 19.18 per cent having a shortfall of 5.82 per cent.

PFL was acquired by Patanjali Group under an insolvency resolution process pursuant to the NCLT approval of the resolution plan submitted by a consortium led by Patanjali Ayurved Ltd in September 2019.

After this equity shares were allotted pursuant to the implementation of resolution plan as approved by NCLT, the aggregate shareholding of the promoter and promoter group in PFL increased to 98.87 per cent of the total issued, paid up and subscribed equity share capital of the company.

As per 19A(5) of SCR Rules where as a result of implementation of the resolution plan approved under section 31 of Code, public shareholding in a listed company falls below twenty-five per cent then such company shall bring the public shareholding to 25 per cent within a maximum period of three years from the date of such fall and if the public shareholding falls below ten per cent then the same shall be increased to at least ten per cent, within a maximum period of twelve months.

As PFL’s public shareholding fell below 25 per cent and 10 per cent on December 18, 2019, it was required to increase the MPS by 25 per cent before December 18, 2022, which was not done.

PFL came out with an FPO in March, 2022, and increased MPS to 19.18 per cent by allotting 6.61 crore equity shares of Rs 2 each at a premium of Rs 648.

The company is required to further increase its public shareholding by 5.82 per cent to achieve the MPS. KRH MJH HVA

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