Unilever may increase stake in HUL: Citi

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Hindustan Unilever shares rose as much as 2.1 per cent on Thursday on reports that its Anglo-Dutch promoter Unilever will announce a stake hike in the FMCG major.

In April 2013, Unilever had announced an open offer to raise its stake in HUL to 75 per cent. The offer, at Rs. 600 per share, helped Unilever raise its stake to 67.3 per cent and was partially successful. Citi expects Unilever to acquire 5 per cent stake in HUL every year through creeping acquisition until it is able to reach the 75 per cent limit.

Post that, Unilever can make a delisting offer, Citi says, pegging the date to around July 4, 2104. Higher stake will enable Unilever to pass special resolutions, Citi says. This will establish Unilever’s dominance over HUL’s board enabling the promoter to take aggressive decisions.

HUL shares closed with a gain of around 1.95 per cent, in contrast the broader Sensex and Nifty closed in red today with a loss of around half a per cent.
Citi Research has a sell rating on HUL.