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Rediff.com  » Business » Rise of Satyam still to impress investors

Rise of Satyam still to impress investors

January 08, 2010 10:25 IST
A year ago, there was panic selling in shares of Satyam Computers after a major accounting scandal at the company.

In the 12 months that followed, the stock has travelled a long distance. From a premium benchmark index stock to a penny stock and now back to the mid-cap space, the bounce-back has surprised even seasoned market players, though most of them are still wary of taking a call on the stock.

On January 9, 2009, two days after the news of the scandal broke, the stock was punters' delight as they made easy money short-selling it.

It touched a low of Rs 6.3 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Rs 11.5 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Since then, it has moved up steadily and given over 1,600 per cent returns on NSE. The stock closed at Rs 107.80 on NSE and Rs 108 on BSE on Thursday.

"The only reason for such a sharp rise is the company's takeover by a strong corporate house," said Deven Choksey, managing director of Mumbai-based KR Choksey Shares and Securities.

Rajiv Mehta, an information technology research analyst at India Infoline Financial Services, said market players were still waiting for a revised financial statement from the new promoters of the company.

"The analysts are still awaiting clarity on a host of issues ranging from clients to financial records. Any statement from the company is expected only in the next quarter. Till then, not many will be in a position to cover the stock," Mehta said.

Choksey said brokers were closely watching the stock and any re-rating could happen only when the company's new promoters show how margins were improving.

After Satyam's erstwile promoter, Ramalainga Raju, confessed to an accounting fraud in January 2009, the company was taken over by Tech Mahindra after a rigorous bidding process. According to Raju, the company's revenue, profit and employee strength had been inflated for years.

While no big domestic brokerage has initiated coverage of the stock, foreign research firm JP Morgan came out with a buy report in June 2009 when the stock was trading around Rs 80. It maintained its overweight outlook on the stock in another report on December 9, 2009.

The June report expected Satyam's business to stabilise by 2009-end. It projected 9 per cent and 19 per cent revenue growth in 2010-11 and 2011-12, respectively. It, however, listed higher-than-estimated legal liabilities, rupee appreciation and protectionism as the key risks.

However, domestic research companies say there is lack of clarity on some of Satyam's old and new clients.

"The markets are still wary about revenues and profits and a lot of other happenings in the company," said Mehta.

Palak Shah in Mumbai
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