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Members hold on to BSE shares

Few turn in scrips as demutualisation dealdline elapses, reports MC Vaijayanthi.
None | By MC Vaijayanthi, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2007 03:07 AM IST

On the last day for Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) members to tender their shares into an escrow account at a base price of Rs 5,200 each, doubts have crept in whether members will stick to the demutualisation schedule deadline.

"I do not think they will get the required number of shares," said a BSE member on condition of anonymity. Yet Mohan Vijan, Chairman, BSE Brokers Forum, the agency coordinating the effort, said response was good.

The number of shares to be put on offer for sale are 4.6 million, and to get 51 per cent of its ownership offloaded, the BSE needs 3.9 million shares from its members that should find their way to other investors by May 2007. Members say the BSE will have no option but to seek an extension from the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

"We are deliberately planning to offload up to 60 per cent to show that the BSE is not anymore a broker-owned exchange," said Vijan. But sources from the broking community said that only 160 of the BSE's 735 members had offered their shares by Thursday morning.

Not all members are sure about the number of shares they want to offer and the price they want. Brokers' expectations of a higher price and fears about dilution of equity after the BSE management decided to issue 10 per cent fresh equity have held up the process. The shortage of time, the management said, forced the BSE to rope in Deutsche Boerse and Singapore Exchange by offering them fresh equity of 5 per cent each.

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