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US-BASED pharma major Pfizer has been able to increase its stake in its Indian arm, Pfizer India, from 41.2% to around 72% through its open offer, which closed early this month. The 72% holding falls a tad short of what the pharma giant was aiming for.

Persons close to the development said that most of the bigger institutional shareholders tendered a majority of their equity during the open offer. Institutional investors held 34.28% stake in the company. Insurance companies are said to have offloaded most of their stake.

According to shareholding data filed by Pfizer India with local equity bourses, insurance companies held a major chunk as of June 30, 2009. LIC held 9.91% stake, LIC- Market Plus (4.47%), GIC (1.64%), Oriental Insurance Company (1.20%) and New India Assurance Company (1.05%). Retail shareholders, who held 19.41% stake, are said to have tendered around 7% in the open offer, while mutual funds have offloaded around 7%.

Incidentally, institutional investors had originally protested Pfizer’s initial offer price of Rs 675 per share since the stock was trading at a higher price. The pharma giant on June 25 revised its offer price to Rs 830 per share, which attracted investor interest since it was higher than the trading price when the offer closed on July 4. The open offer was managed by HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India).

When contacted, a Pfizer Global spokesperson said in an e-mail, “At this point, we’re still in the process of settling the transaction. After the settlement process is completed, we will have the results of the offering.” Pfizer is said to have spent around Rs 800 cr for the open offer.

Recently, Swiss pharma giant, Novartis, had made an open offer to increase its stake in Novartis India. Novartis aimed at raise its stake to almost 90% from 50.9%. The company, however, managed to increase its holding only to 76.4% despite revising its offer price from Rs 351 to Rs 450 per share. At the company’s AGM, minority individual shareholders said they did not tender their shares on the belief that the offer price of Rs 450 was lower than the value they thought could be unlocked.

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