India's Patanjali Foods falls after stock exchanges freeze promoters' shares
BENGALURU (Reuters) - Shares of India's Patanjali Foods Ltd fell as much as 5% on Thursday, a day after the edible oil maker said the country's stock exchanges froze promoters' shares as they still held a stake of around 80% in the company.
India's markets regulator, the India's Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), mandates the minimum public shareholding in listed companies at 25%.
The stock is down 22.4% year to date.
Patanjali, in an exchange filing on Wednesday, said it received a notification from both the BSE, formerly known as the Bombay Stock Exchange, and the National Stock Exchange, informing it about the share freeze.
As per the notification, about 292.6 million shares would be affected, the company said.
The deadline for minimum public float norms passed towards the end of January 2023, as the three-year period after company's relisting ended.
However, the company on Wednesday said the action by stock exchanges would not have any impact on its financial position.
The promoters are confident of achieving minimum public shareholding within next few months, it said, adding that the promoters' equity shares were already locked in till April 2023 as per SEBI norms, and none of the shares were pledged.
Patanjali Ayurved, the company's parent firm, acquired Ruchi Soya Industries in 2019 and renamed it Patanjali Foods in 2022.
This is not the first time that Patanjali Foods has stepped into regulatory crosshairs.
In September 2021, SEBI issued a warning to the company after its co-founder, well-known yoga guru Baba Ramdev, attempted via a viral sermon to get his followers to invest in Ruchi Soya's share sale during its January 2020 relisting.
In March 2022, SEBI had asked Patanjali to allow retail investors to withdraw their bids from the 43 billion rupee ($519.84 million) share sale.
The regulator’s move followed instances of unsolicited messages being sent to Patanjali Ayurved’s users to invest in Ruchi Soya's share sale.
($1 = 82.7175 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru and Jayshree Upadhyay in Mumbai; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)