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Merrill, IL&FS sold shares in nick of time

BS Reporter in Mumbai | January 12, 2009 13:08 IST

Days before B Ramalinga Raju admitted to fraud, a handful of financial services companies, including DSP Merrill Lynch, IL&FS Financial Services and Deutsche Bank's non-banking finance company, sold Satyam Computer Services [Get Quote] shares pledged with them.

IL&FS Trust Company, which was warehousing them on behalf of the lenders, permitted the lenders to sell the shares.

According to information available from the National Stock Exchange, IL&FS Trust Company sold 14.89 million shares between December 24 and January 2.

On December 24, 2008, IL&FS Trust Company permitted sale of 6.05 million shares at Rs 120.09 each, while another 4.41 million shares were sold at Rs 139.83 five days later. The trust let go of a further 4.43 million shares at Rs 176 on January 2, 2009 � five days before Raju's revelations.

Sources at Deutsche Bank and IL&FS confirmed the sales. A DSP Merrill Lynch spokesperson refused to comment. A source said that there was no conflict of interest as DSP Merill Lynch had sold the shares before bagging the mandate. The identities of the other lenders could not be ascertained.

In a communication dated December 27, Satyam had said it had appointed DSP Merrill Lynch to review strategic options to enhance shareholder value.

The move came 10 days after it aborted plans to acquire Maytas Infra and Maytas Properties, two companies promoted by the Raju family. DSP Merrill Lynch terminated the deal with Satyam on January 6, a day before Ramalinga Raju's revelations.

Between the time the deal was aborted and Raju admitted to fraud, the lenders, including DSP Merrill Lynch, offloaded the shares in the markets as the value of the scrips fell below the trigger price.

With the Rajus unable to pledge further shares to cover the loans they had taken from the lenders, the financial sector companies sought permission from IL&FS Trust Company to sell the shares.

The Rajus had also pledged the shares of Maytas Infra to raise resources from lenders including IL&FS Financial Services, IFCI and Maharashtra government company Sicom.

The lenders have, however, been prevented from selling Maytas Infra shares due to the 5 per cent lower circuit.

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