KOCHI: The annual shareholders’ meeting of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) here on Friday is likely to see public sector undertakings (PSUs) opposing any move to offer shares through rights issue to minority investors.
The big investors, including some prominent non-resident Keralite businessmen who are directors of the CIAL, are also unlikely to allow such a proposal to go through, though they may not oppose the move publicly, it is learnt.
The rights issue proposal is not in the agenda of the AGM papers circulated among shareholders. However, the minority investors are hoping that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who is chairman of the CIAL, will make an announcement regarding the matter on Friday. The proposal was to give rights to investors who own 2,000 or less shares.
But, the PSUs opposed the move at last year’s AGM, forcing the Chief Minister to make a promise that the issue would be taken up again at this year’s AGM. There are about 9,000 investors who own less than 2,000 shares in the CIAL.
“How can the government move a proposal, that is not in the agenda. Further, we cannot allow disproportionate rights as the public sector undertakings we are answerable to our shareholders and the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India),” said an official of a PSU, which is a shareholder of CIAL.
The Kerala Government owns 32.24 per cent stake in the CIAL, India’s first airport to be built in public-private partnership.
Directors, relatives and associates, including M V George of Geo Electricals, Sharjah; M A Yousuf Ali of Emke Group, Abudhabi; P Mohammed Ali of Gulfar Engineering, Oman; C V Jacob of Synthite, Kolenchery; and E M Babu of Majeed Bukatara Trading, Dubai, together own 37.36 per cent stake in the CIAL.
State-owned companies BPCL (3.43 per cent), Air India (3.27 per cent) and Hudco (3.26 per cent) are the other leading shareholders. Federal Bank (1.96 per cent), the State Bank of Travancore (3.27 per cent) and Indian Overseas Bank (0.32 per cent) also own a stake in CIAL.
At the AGM, the shareholders will raise the borrowing cap of the CIAL to `1,500 crore from `300 crore, in order to fund the expansion projects, including construction of the second terminal, which is fast progressing. The `800-crore terminal is expected to be complete in two-and-half years.