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Narayana Murthy's VC fund can exit SKS now

Last updated on: May 16, 2011 15:31 IST

Narayana Murthy's VC fund can exit SKS now

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BS Reporter in Mumbai


Catamaran Management Services, the venture capital fund promoted by Infosys Technologies Chairman N R Narayana Murthy, is free to exit SKS Microfinance.

A two-year lock-in clause that barred the exit of Catamaran till January 2012, lapsed on Friday as the weekly average closing price of SKS shares fell below Rs 400.

According to the shareholder agreement, the lock-in shall not apply, if the "market value of the equity shares as calculated on the basis of average closing prices in a calendar week falls below Rs 400 per equity share."

Until last week, the average closing price was well clear of this mark. But this week, the SKS stock never went above Rs 400, putting the average closing price for this week at Rs 327.

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Image: N R Narayana Murthy.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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Catamaran has a 1.3 per cent stake in SKS through two funds, Catamaran 1A and 1B. It had bought the stake through a preferential issue in January 2010 at Rs 300 per share.

At the end of Friday, it was sitting on a mark-to-market gain of 26 per cent.

Murthy has been critical of the SKS management. In October, when allegations and counter allegations were flying thick and fast between Vikram Akula, the founder chairman, and Suresh Gurumani, the then chief executive, Murthy had advised Akula that it was best for the management and the board to be open, honest and fair in all matters dealing with every stakeholder.

"Apart from this conversation, Murthy has not had any interaction with either the management or the directors of SKS Microfinance," a release by Catamaran had said then.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Sandstone Investment Partners, the single largest investor in SKS with an 11.5 per cent stake, Kismet Capital LLC, ICP Holdings and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance were the other investors who had picked SKS stocks at Rs 300 per share.

Two other investors, who had bought SKS shares just before its initial public offering at much higher prices, are already knee deep in the losses.

George Soros-owned Quantum (M) and Tree Line Asia Master Fund had bought the shares through secondary transactions at Rs 636 per share.


Photographs: Reuters
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