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Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Rolta India Ltd: Interview with Mr.K K Singh
KK Singh, CMD, Rolta India, says the rationale behind hiking promoter stake holding is on account of the condition that defence sector companies need to have atleast 50 percent promoter stakeholding to be able to participate in manufacturing and in defense make India programmes. Mr.Singh, further said the company has plans to up promoter holding by another 5% next year.
Rolta India Ltd promoters gained majority control in the company by hiking their stake from 40 percent to over 50 percent over the last three years through creeping acquisitions. KK Singh, CMD, Rolta India, says this year the promoter holding was raised by 4 percent. He adds the promoters still have the leeway to hike it by another 1 percent this year itself, as per Sebi guidelines. Going forward, the promoters will up their stake by another 5 percent next year in the company, he says.
Singh says the rationale behind hiking promoter stake holding is on account of the condition that defence sector companies need to have atleast 50 percent promoter stakeholding to be able to participate in manufacturing and in defense make India programmes.
Apart from that, the company raised about USD 200 million internationally to repay Indian debt in the previous quarter, due to which interest costs were reduced to some extent, which provided a natural hedge, he says. As of now, the debt stands at around USD 600 million, he adds. Though he says the company is now in a better position because it is seeing monetizing of its investments. He says the company will be debt free in the next 4-5 years. Below is the verbatim transcript of KK Singh's interview on CNBC-TV18.
Q: The promoters of the company have been increasing their stake in the company. So every year via the creeping acquisition the stake has been going up and now above 50 percent mark. Could you tell us in this year how much have the promoters raised and what the plan is. Is that going to continue, what is the target promoter level that you are looking at?
A: In this year we increased almost about 4 percent and we will continue to do this creeping acquisition as we go forward and this year we still have 1 percent limit because 5 percent is the Sebi guideline and next year again we will have 5 percent. So, we will continue to acquire as we go forward. Therefore, 50-51 percent certainly helps us in defense sector. There is a condition that Indian promoters must have at least 50 percent and above to be able to participate in manufacturing and in defense make India programmes. There is another big make India programme, the requests for proposal (RFP) will be put out in next week, which is a USD 5 billion programme which is for better field management system. So, these programmes mandate these things. We are well placed in that, there are only a handful of companies which have been shortlisted for these and we are one of them. So, this is an important thing for us from that angle also.
Q: One of the key parameters in your previous quarter was that your finance costs were higher. What is the debt on books at this point and what is the trajectory that we can expect in terms of reduction of debt for the company?
A: We have been dollarising our balance sheet. We raised USD 200 million in the previous quarter and this was internationally raised. The idea was that it was required to repay the Indian debts and we reduced our cost of interest to some extent and that also provides us a natural hedge. So, overall we have about USD 600 million odd debt and that is because of the fact that in the last five years we have invested almost a billion dollar into our company, into transforming the company from a simple services company to a very IP centric company and this transformation has been complete. We are seeing monetization now, better results, better profit margins and better market shares. So, this is certainly giving us an advantage in what we are doing and these are all long-term loans and as we go forward in next four-five years we should be debt free.
Q: In the near term what are the key deals that have opened up and where does company’s pipeline stand at?
A: Overall, the company’s pipeline right now is at Rs 8,500 crore and out of this pipeline we continue to get good orders. We have been getting good orders constantly out of large orders internationally as well as domestically but certainly defense things will make a qualitative and quantitative difference as and when they start happening. We do still get good business from defense. We have 18-20 percent of our business coming out of defense but these large make India programmes are still to take off and once they takeoff there will be a big change.
Q: Instead of 5 percent creeping acquisition every year, no plan for an open offer or anything? A: No. We will be happy with small creeping acquisition which we do within the Sebi guidelines and that is what we want to do.