In a curious move, Reliance Industries’ (RIL) executive director and Mukesh Ambani’s trusted aide PMS Prasad (pictured) pledged 600,000 shares of the company last month, which is 93.75 per cent of the total shares he owns in RIL.
Prasad owned a total of 640,000 RIL shares and his compensation stood at Rs 11.15 crore in FY20.
Typically, professional corporate executives pledge shares when they need to raise cash to exercise stock options in the company’s shares or invest the money elsewhere.
Neither Prasad nor RIL responded to Business Standard’s queries on the reason for the pledge.
According to stock exchange filings, Alok Agarwal, chief financial officer (CFO), RIL, had pledged 1.44 million shares in September 2019 and revoked the pledge on 940,000 shares even as he pledged another 225,000 shares last month. He acquired a little over 100,000 shares through the rights issue last month.
Interestingly, Prasad’s last trading activity, prior to the pledge was in September 2017, when he sold 136,666 shares.
HDFC Bank’s managing director (MD) Aditya Puri, who was recently in the news for exiting 95 per cent of his stake in the bank, had also pledged his shares in 2018 and 2019 to exercise stock options.
Prasad is considered one of RIL’s senior most executives, often credited for the Jamnagar refinery complex establishment and later steering RIL’s gas business ambitions.
RIL’s shares have nearly doubled in the last four months. On March 27, the stock was trading at Rs 1055.9 per share. RIL on Wednesday, closed at Rs 2095.85 a share on BSE. The company has been on a stake sale spree for its digital business Jio Platforms, with minority stakes sold to global giants such as Google, Facebook and a slew of financial institutions.
RIL has so far raised a total of Rs 2.13 trillion through the combined investments in Jio Platforms, a rights issue, and investment by BP.