New Delhi : The government shareholding in Engineers India Ltd has fallen to 54.17 per cent after it sold some shares under the company’s buyback programme. It had 57.02 per cent in EIL prior the launch of the Rs 658.80 crore share buyback on July 25. The 4.19 crore share buyback plan at Rs 157 a piece closed on August 7. In a regulatory filing, EIL said the government cornered 99.96 per cent of the buyback programme.

EIL said it has bought 4.19 crore equity shares and extinguished them. This has resulted in equity base shrinking to 63.19 crore shares from 67.38 crore shares previously.

Promoter holding came down from 38.42 crore shares (57.02 per cent of total) to 34.22 crore shares (54.17 per cent), it said, adding that the holding of public and other institutional investors has risen from near 43 per cent to 45.83 per cent. The buyback price announced was less than Rs 164.95 rate at which EIL shares were trading on the previous trading day. It was trading at Rs 150.40 on BSE at 1400 hours. The Board of Directors of EIL had on March 20, 2017 approved the share buyback. Shareholders approved the proposal through postal ballot in June. Share buyback is the acquisition by a company of its own shares. The objective is to return surplus cash to shareholders.

The government has encouraged cash-surplus PSUs to go for share buybacks to meet its disinvestment target. For the current fiscal, 2017-18, it has set a target of raising Rs 72,500 crore through minority sales, strategic disinvestments as well as through listing of state-owned insurance companies. EIL is a Navratna public sector unit under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. It is an engineering consultancy company providing design, engineering, procurement, construction and integrated project management services, principally focused on the oil and gas, petrochemicals, fertiliser and LNG industry segments in India and internationally.

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