Bharti Airtel scrip falls as chief executive sells holding

March 12th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, March 12 (IANS) The scrip of Bharti Airtel declined 6.37 percent Thursday after market data showed that the telecom major’s chief executive sold his entire holding in the company in two days.
The Bharti scrip closed at Rs.550.30, much below its last closing figure of Rs.587.75 as data showed that chief executive Manoj Kohli sold about 123,000 shares in two batches March 6 and March 9.

The move by Kohli sparked off rumours about the state of affairs at one of the largest Indian telecom companies, resulting in 2,448,190 shares changing hands.

Kohli was quick to clarify that the sale of his holding was due to personal reasons.

“I have sold my current holding in Bharti Airtel for personal reasons. I continue to hold 180,000 (stock) options in the company, some of which have already vested and the balance will vest from time to time as per the schedule,” Kohli said in a statement to the bourses.

He also dismissed rumours that the sale was a precursor to his exit from the company.

“I am happy to confirm that I continue as the CEO and joint managing director of the company,” Kohli said.

Analysts were of the view that markets had over-reacted to the news. “It’s likely that he (Kohli) sold the stake for personal reasons. Moreover, the amount is not much and would work out around Rs.6-7 crore (Rs.60-70 million),” said Jagannadham Thunguntla, equity head at SMC Capitals.

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